Student attorneys in the Homeless Advocacy Clinic provide legal services that eliminate barriers to housing and employment for unhoused people who have had contact with the criminal legal system. Students gain invaluable litigation experience representing clients in civil, criminal, and administrative matters. 

Our Practice

Students represent clients in cases involving public benefits, expungement of criminal records, infraction defense and reduction of fines and fees, and child support. HAC student attorneys employ a barrier-free, holistic, and client-centered representation model designed to empower their clients. Interdisciplinary collaboration is central to HAC’s service model and student attorneys collaborate closely with social workers in our partner organizations.

The Experience

Students represent real clients in real legal cases under the supervision of HAC faculty and staff. They manage their own caseload and are responsible for all facets of their client’s cases, including court appearances where they sit first chair. Students generally work in teams of two and each team represents four to six clients depending on case complexity.

Through their casework, students develop and hone fundamental lawyering skills including client interviewing, fact investigation, research and writing, client counseling, and oral advocacy. Moreover, students receive extensive training in the provision of trauma-informed lawyering.

In weekly seminars, students study lawyering skills and various topics related to Housing Justice. Students grapple with how the law does, or more likely does not, provide for their clients’ social welfare. During their time in HAC, students are expected to engage in regular reflection to translate their experiences into “deep learning” and become “practice ready.”

Enrollment in HAC is capped at twelve students. The low student-to-teacher ratio allows faculty to provide intensive supervision and instruction specifically tailored to each individual student’s needs and goals.

Structure of Clinic

HAC (Law 850) is one-semester clinic for three graded units. However, students are encouraged to enroll for two semesters to fulfill their experiential learning requirement and gain additional skills working on cases with more complexity. Students attend weekly seminars and work on cases for 120 hours over the course of the semester.

Prerequisites and Corequisites for Enrollment

Students are expected apply for certification under The State Bar of California's Practical Training of Law Students program. To be eligible for certification, a student must be enrolled in, or have successfully completed Evidence and Civil Procedure. Students must co-enroll in Poverty Law (Law 701) during the Spring semester.

Faculty and Staff

Ron Hochbaum, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, is a national expert on homelessness and poverty law. Before joining the faculty at McGeorge, Professor Hochbaum was an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law and a Clinical Teaching Fellow at Loyola University Chicago and Cornell University. In practice, Professor Hochbaum worked first as a Staff Attorney and then a Supervising Attorney at the Homeless Action Center in Berkeley and Oakland, California where he represented homeless clients in claims for public benefits. His research examines the interplay between the criminalization of homelessness and the ever-evolving nature of segregation.

Tori Larett joined the Homeless Advocacy Clinic in 2022. Prior to joining the Homeless Advocacy Clinic, Tori was a staff attorney at the Homeless Action Center and an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. As an EJW Fellow, she provided barrier-free direct services to unhoused individuals, led local policy initiatives to change San Francisco’s towing policies, and litigated cases to protect the civil rights of unhoused and low-income people. 


Questions and requests for additional information may be emailed to Professor Ron Hochbaum at