Learning About Lawyering in the Just Transition

Part of our blog series where our Summer Interns introduce themselves to our communities.

By Savannah Wheeler, Law Center Summer 2019 Law Clerk

My name is Savannah Wheeler and I am a rising second year student at Berkeley Law. I am excited to be joining the Sustainable Economies Law Center team this summer as a legal intern, assisting the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative and the Law Center with legal research and community legal education.

I am originally from San Diego and attended UC Berkeley as an undergraduate, where I earned a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies. Before law school, I spent four years in New Orleans, where I first worked as an assistant seventh grade math teacher and student mentor, and then as Programs Associate at Propeller, a nonprofit that supports entrepreneurs with a social or environmental mission.

In 2016, I joined the Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana, where I worked with legal professionals and grassroots organizations across the state to coordinate legal clinics that provided free expungement and related services. I also worked on education and advocacy projects that addressed the barriers to employment, housing, and education caused by a criminal record. There, I learned the great power of a partnership between a dedicated coalition of lawyers/advocates and communities leading the way to economic and social justice. 

In New Orleans, I also learned about the community land trust and cooperative models as tools to counter housing crises, and I was introduced to the great work of the Sustainable Economies Law Center through a colleague who had participated in a Law Center training.  I joined the Law Center this summer because I am eager to support the movement toward permanent affordability and community control of land and resources, as well as to learn how lawyers can help facilitate the transition to ecologically and socially just and thriving economic systems. I look forward to diving into research on finance, real estate, and trust issues affecting cooperatives and helping to facilitate community education on worker cooperatives.

I currently co-lead the Berkeley Law Reproductive Justice Project and the Law School’s chapter of the Prisoner Advocacy Network. In my spare time I enjoy reading, travelling, cooking, and spending time with my Bay Area-based siblings and nephews.

Thanks to our Partners and Collaborators: