Curricular Innovations Set Loyola Apart
During the spring 2013 semester, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles expanded its curriculum to include a range of unique and first-time course offerings along with an expanded focus on emerging practice areas such as healthcare law. The school has achieved all this while managing to produce a high output of externship work and a record-number of clerkships.
“A lot of what we are doing reflects how students learn,” said Professor Sean Scott, associate dean for faculty. “We take these courses and add an experiential component to make students better lawyers because they learn in better ways. It’s contextualized learning.”
The spring 2013 semester is punctuated by classes notable for their innovation and structure. In all, nine classes were offered for the first time in the spring 2013 semester.
The new course Fashion Law is the first of its kind on the West Coast to focus exclusively on matters of law affecting the fashion business. It will focus on licensing, fashion financing, import/export rules and celebrity endorsements. It is taught by alumna Staci Riordan, chair of the Fashion Law Practice Group at Fox Rothschild. Plans are in the works to add a fashion licensing course and a copyright registration clinic for design students.
Fashion Law is part of the school’s burgeoning entertainment law program, which in the spring semester added Barbara Rubin ’78 (pictured at right) to its ranks as executive director of the Entertainment Law Practicum. Rubin, now a partner at Glaser Weil, has helmed studio legal departments as well as her own boutique entertainment law firm.
Students in the Family Law Practicum will receive classroom instruction on cases such as those involving domestic violence. They will spend the rest of the semester doing field work at the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice, which provides free legal representation to low-income residents in cases of family law and domestic violence.
Other classes being offered for the first time in spring 2013 are Comparative Community Property, Copyright and New Technologies, Corporate Governance Seminar, Critical Race Theory and Intellectual Property Licensing Transactions. And in the fall, there are plans for more new courses: the Art of Jury Selection, Electronic Discovery, Consumer Bankruptcy Clinic, Patent Prosecution and Forensic Science.
Students enrolled in the Consumer Debt Options Counseling Clinic will learn consumer debt and collection laws as they apply to credit card, medial, mortgage and student debt. They will then apply that knowledge by providing consumer counseling under the umbrella of Loyola’s Center for Conflict Resolution.
In a similar vein, students in Loyola’s Tenants’ Law Clinic will assist legal-aid programs and pro bono attorneys in helping tenants facing eviction. Students will undergo six weeks of classroom training on eviction proceedings and will then be places with a legal-services group such as Bet Tzedek.
The Employment Rights Clinic, which started in fall 2012, is a collaboration between the Law School and the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. It teaches students the skills needed to investigate and mediate contested employment retaliation claims. Students will be tasked with preparing written determinations that the state agency will review and issue as binding decisions.
Added Courses of Study
On top of a wide selection of subject-matter Concentrations in such areas as Law & Entrepreneurship and Intellectual Property Law, Loyola recently launched Courses of Study programs to allow students to specialize in an area of the law without adhering to the course requirements inherent in Concentrations. Courses of Study are now offered in Family Law, Health Care Law and Law & the Political Process.
Courses of Study foster practical experience by facilitating education beyond the classroom. With Health Care Law, students may pursue private placement with a health plan as part of the Health Care Practicum. They may also participate in the Veterans Benefits Clinic or the Disability Rights Legal Center. Students in the program have obtained externships with such organizations as the National Health Law Program and Children’s Hospital. And with the February 2013 launch of Loyola’s Health Law Alumni Chapter, networking and placement possibilities are on the rise.
Loyola continues to achieve high levels of student placement – both through its extensive clinical offerings and off-campus placements. It achieved a record in 2012-2013 with 24 post-graduate clerkships secured. In 2012, it placed 237 students in judicial chambers, government agencies and public interest law firms. On average, each student provided 260 hours of services over the semester – or more than 61,600 hours. Additionally, through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance clinic, more than 40 students provided 1,000-plus hours of tax preparation services for income eligible students, working taxpayers and elderly taxpayers.