Berkeley Law Student Receives EBCLC Summer Fellowship

The Brayton Purcell Summer Fellowship at the East Bay Community Law Center

Berkeley, CA — July 14, 2009 — The East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) is pleased to announce the awarding of the third-annual Brayton Purcell Summer Fellowship at EBCLC. The partnership between the law firm of Brayton Purcell LLP and EBCLC is part of a three-year commitment from the firm to provide summer employment opportunities for talented students from UC Berkeley School of Law and to deliver free, high-quality legal services to underrepresented Bay Area clients.

The ten-week Fellowship, which runs through Friday, July 31, 2009, supports Tania Valdez, a rising second-year student from Berkeley Law. Ms. Valdez studied Sociology, Women’s Studies, Chicana/o Studies, and Spanish during her undergraduate career at Colorado State University. Some of her activities in her first year of law school included being an Article Editor on the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice, a founding member of the Women of Color Collective, a student representative for an asylum seeker in the California Asylum Representation Clinic, and an active member of the La Raza Law Students Association.

Ms. Valdez is interning this summer in the Immigration practice at EBCLC and is working mainly with low-income, HIV-positive clients. Under the supervision of Linda Tam, who directs the Immigration practice, her work covers a variety of legal issues, including applications for U visas, lawful permanent residence, and asylum. Ms. Valdez will receive a $5,000 stipend made possible through a generous grant from  Brayton Purcell.

All Berkeley Law summer applicants to EBCLC were considered for the Fellowship, with a preference given to candidates who demonstrated through academic, employment and/or life experiences a commitment to serving low-income, minority, and underrepresented individuals and groups.

Brayton Purcell serves clients nationwide and has law offices in Northern and Southern California, Salt Lake City, UT, and Portland, OR. The attorneys at Brayton Purcell handle challenging cases involving tough issues–ones that champion consumer rights, community health, and the protection that real working people need every day. They strive to reduce hazards on the job, bringing to light problems with asbestos, beryllium, and other dangerous substances. The firm attorneys have repeatedly won multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements for their clients. These include the largest awards for asbestos victims in California and Utah. Brayton Purcell also obtained the largest awards in Oregon and Washington for individuals with asbestos-related diseases other than mesothelioma. The law firm of Brayton Purcell has been doing this work for over 26 years, combining compassionate service with tireless advocacy.

Since 1988 the East Bay Community Law Center has served as the community-based component of Boalt Hall’s clinical program. Today, EBCLC is the East Bay’s largest provider of free legal services to the poor and a nationally-recognized teaching clinic. Each year more than 100 Boalt students train and practice at EBCLC under the supervision of 18 full-time staff attorneys in one of five practice areas that address legal issues related to housing, income support, HIV & health, immigration, community re-entry, homelessness, and consumer debt. EBCLC‘s work makes the lives of East Bay community members more secure, productive, healthy, and hopeful.

For more information about the Brayton Purcell Fellowship at EBCLC, please contact Tirien Steinbach, EBCLC Executive Director, (510) 548-4040, ext. 373.