The Neighborhood Law Corps (NLC) is a community-facing, affirmative litigation unit within the Oakland City Attorney’s Office.
Through civil lawsuits and other enforcement actions, the NLC focuses on some of the most challenging problems facing Oakland’s neighborhoods, particularly tenant protection, substandard housing, public nuisance, and other key health and safety issues. NLC Attorneys also collaborate with other city departments, sister government agencies, and community organizations to connect residents with resources.
The program, launched in 2002, has been recognized with awards, including the Gold Award for Municipal Excellence from the National League of Cities and the Making Democracy Work Award from the League of Women Voters Oakland.
There are five NLC attorneys assigned across the City. Additionally, the following interactive map is a handy tool where one can enter a specific address to determine the applicable police beat, neighborhood council, Neighborhood Services Coordinator (NSC), and Community Resource Officer (CRO), among other information:
NLC actions typically start with an initial investigation of issues brought to the team’s attention from various sources, including, but not limited to, other City departments, community organizations, City Council, neighborhood councils, and community members.
The NLC generally focuses resources on matters where other methods of enforcement have failed. For example, there are many situations where compliance may be fully achieved without NLC action, such as by an enforcing City department (e.g., by Code Enforcement of the Planning and Building Department, through inspections, follow-up notices, and citations). Accordingly, it is important to report issues to the enforcing City department first, as that department may be able to resolve the issue. Sometimes, when the department cannot resolve the issue and NLC involvement is appropriate, the NLC gets involved, including by reviewing what an applicable department has already tried to resolve the issue. For additional information on reporting mechanisms for different types of problems, see the Public Nuisance Reporting Guide attached here as Appendix A.