When Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law established a Homeless Advocacy Clinic last year, it was the nation’s first to provide legal services exclusively to formerly incarcerated individuals experiencing homelessness.
A recent gift from a McGeorge alumnus will support students who are working in the clinic, providing free legal services to members of the homeless community who cannot afford legal assistance.
Sacramento native Robert A. Buccola ’83 and his wife, Dr. Kawanaa Carter, have committed $300,000 to the Homeless Advocacy Clinic. Buccola is a managing and founding partner of Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora, LLP.
“Making a financial contribution is easy. Making a difference at the grassroots level is the real challenge,” Buccola said. “I am very proud that the leadership and faculty at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law are committed to providing legal services to people experiencing homelessness.”
Led by Ron Hochbaum, an assistant clinical professor of law at McGeorge and a national expert on homelessness and poverty law, the clinic’s services include the expungement of criminal records, reduction of fines and fees, access to public benefits, child support modification, credit counseling and more.
“It is comforting to know so many people experiencing homelessness are being helped through this urgently needed legal resource, and that my wife and I are able to help in even a small way,” Buccola said.
Students in the clinic develop expertise in several areas of the law and work with clients with multiple intersecting legal concerns.
“We advocate for the best possible outcomes for our clients and always have their best interests in mind,” said Brian Taghadossi, a third-year law student. “The work has been a very fulfilling experience. I have learned many valuable skills—client interviewing and counseling, case management, oral and written advocacy, and office procedures associated with working in a law office.”
McGeorge’s Homeless Advocacy Clinic is the seventh legal clinic operated by the school, which has a focus on experiential learning.
“I truly believe that the Homeless Advocacy Clinic is the perfect example of an educational framework that prioritizes both student and community needs,” Hochbaum said. “Students will learn how to apply theory to real world practice, while clients will receive critical—and in some cases lifesaving— legal representation.
“We are incredibly grateful to Mr. Buccola and Dr. Carter for their generous gift. It will ensure that some of the most marginalized and hardest-to-reach Sacramentans receive critical legal services to remove barriers to housing,” Hochbaum said.