Kathleen Thaete

Kathleen Thaete is a May 2019 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and will be serving as a Borchard Fellow at Legal Assistance for Seniors (LAS) in Oakland, California. Prior to law school, Kathleen attended the University of San Francisco where she received her Bachelor's degree in English Literature. Following USF, she worked for a boutique employment and immigration law firm in San Francisco before deciding that she wanted to pursue her own legal career.

During law school, Northeastern's cooperative learning program allowed Kathleen the opportunity to go to school in Boston, as well as complete four full-time legal internships in California, primarily in Alameda County. While Northeastern instilled a strong desire to work in public interest, it was Kathleen's first internship with LAS that defined her desire specifically to serving the older population. At LAS, she worked in the elder abuse department, conducting client intakes, going on home visits, and drafting restraining orders all to ensure the safety of clients in their homes. LAS's clients were often-home bound, referred to LAS by county services agencies, without which referrals the clients needs might not have been met. Kathleen followed this internship with one at the Alameda County Probate Court the following summer. It was here where she further saw the need for accessibility to legal information and representation for older adults. At her final legal internship at another legal services nonprofit, the Homeless Action Center (HAC) in Oakland, Kathleen had the opportunity to learn more about two critical issues affecting Alameda County: housing and homelessness. While HAC's primary goal is assisting clients in procuring public benefits, Kathleen took away the imperative message that obtaining and maintaining housing played a crucial role in a person's well-being.

Kathleen has lived a majority of her life in Alameda County, primarily in the Tri-Valley area. She also worked for two legal nonprofits that saw few if any clients from the Tri-Valley, although not for lack of need. As a Borchard Fellow Kathleen will seek to remedy the lack of housing legal resources for older adults in Alameda County, especially those in the more rural areas of the county by providing both legal information and representation to older adults. She will be working with community partners to develop and implement a mobile clinic for self-represented litigants in housing case notices and providing direct representation for older tenants in housing cases. She also will accumulate county-wide resources into a comprehensive self-help housing guide addressing the legal and practical needs of older tenants and landlords within Alameda County. She plans to use this guide to lead community legal education presentations and to circulate it both online and in print with the assistance of community partners.