The Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) thanks Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe attorneys Penni Takade and Matteo Daste for volunteering with the Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP), engaging UC Hastings students in their work as well.
Penni and Matteo volunteer at HAP’s Homeless Legal Services Clinic, a weekly drop-in clinic held at San Francisco’s largest homeless shelter, MSC South. When a Clinic client has outstanding warrants, Penni and Matteo team up with UC Hastings students to identify the source of each warrant, and take on the matter full-scope to clear the warrant.
Clearing warrants is a critical intervention for homeless clients because an outstanding warrant, usually for minor infractions, can present an enormous roadblock for those looking to access housing, employment, and government benefits. In one example, a client found himself in jail for failure to pay a $1.50 ticket. Penalties had accrued to a few hundred dollars, and when he failed to appear in court, he was arrested. As a result, the client also became unemployable and ended up in the homeless shelter. Before this incident, he had worked as a school bus driver.
Seeing how justice is so highly correlated to one’s ability to pay motivates Penni and Matteo to continue volunteering and to contribute to correcting the imbalance in our justice system. They also enjoy working with their homeless clients, who really appreciate being heard and treated like normal people. Volunteering takes Penni and Matteo out of their typical routine and bubble, and exposes them to different types of law, learning, and skills.
Penni is a public finance attorney who moved to the Bay Area from Southern California seven years ago. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and hopes to have a chance to hike the John Muir Trail one day. Matteo was born and raised in Genoa, Italy, and moved to the U.S. to attend college and law school. At Orrick he practices corporate and securities law, and when he’s not busy volunteering or spending time with his family, he enjoys art, cooking, skiing and fishing.
Learn more about the Homeless Advocacy Project at www.sfbar.org/hap.
To learn more about volunteering, email firstname.lastname@example.org