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Tuesday, June 4 • 9:45am - 11:15am
Social Work & Legal Services: An Interdisciplinary Approach FULL

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In this workshop, we will discuss and explain the importance of the social worker-attorney relationship from our work with the Children’s Rights Project and Immigrant’s Rights Project at Public Counsel. Social work professionals have become an integral part of the legal teams at Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro-bono law firm with the objective of providing holistic legal services to clients. The non-traditional collaboration between attorneys and social workers provides benefits to many, namely the clients and the attorneys themselves. The capacity to see clients as full individuals with multi-dimensional lives allows the social worker to collaborate with the client in navigating various intersecting systems. This also allows the social worker to help the attorneys put the client’s circumstances and lives into perspective as it relates to their legal case.

Many times, it is all of these systems’ interactions and their overlap with the immigration or foster care system that shape the client’s experience and decision-making. Throughout the presentation, the challenges and benefits of introducing a social work professional in a legal team for various stakeholder’s will be examined. Specifically the discussion will highlight the flexibility of the social work profession, a framework for how to incorporate social workers into a legal team, particularly how to leverage their skills in furtherance of the legal work. Our workshop will include a case study to illustrate the collaboration in practice, and end with engaging participants on how this framework can be implemented in their agencies and how it would benefit their work. Working with the populations we work with often requires creativity and forging new partnerships in the systems they actively choose to engage- a concept that is not foreign to social workers.


Bernadette Gholami

Social Worker, Public Counsel

HyunJoo Lee

Staff Attorney, Public Counsel

Jose Ortiz-Rosales

Social Worker, Public Counsel
José Ortiz-Rosales is a Social Worker at Public Counsel in Los Angeles. He received his Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California and has certification in Mental Health First Aid and Motivational Interviewing. As a social worker, Jose collaborates... Read More →

Tuesday June 4, 2019 9:45am - 11:15am PDT
Santa Barbara
  Holistic Services, Outreach