Program Overview

The Journalist Law School fellowship condenses core law-school subjects and break-out topics into a long weekend filled with courses taught by LMU Loyola Law School faculty, practicing attorneys, legislators and judges. Journalists with at least three years of experience who cover the law in some fashion are encouraged to apply. Journalist fellows, who are competitively selected, receive a certificate of completion at the end of the four-day program. More than 1,000 reporters, editors and producers have completed the fellowship from a wide range of local, national and international news organizations.

There is no cost to journalists to attend the fellowship. Instruction, lodging and most meals are included. Fellows will be housed at the nearby Los Angeles Hotel.

The JLS will cover lodging from Wednesday through Saturday. Fellows will be responsible for any additional lodging. Fellows will have one free evening to explore Los Angeles on their own. Certificates will be issued during a graduation ceremony and reception on the Saturday evening.

Loyola’s Civil Justice Program started the JLS in 2006 as a way to help journalists navigate the complexities of the legal system and enhance their coverage of it. “Journalists provide the keys to understanding the most complex institutions in our society, including the courts,” said Professor Nockleby, director of the JLS and Loyola’s Civil Justice Program. “If journalists have a deeper understanding of law and the legal system, they can help the public better understand – and critique – that system.”

The core faculty members will lecture on civil, criminal and constitutional law and other primary topics.

Recent breakout sessions have included:

  • Access to Government Documents: FOIA & Transparency
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Criminal Justice Reform
  • Elections & Exercising the Franchise
  • Ethics in the Era of Trump
  • Everything Immigration
  • International Trade
  • Opioid Crisis
  • Police Accountability: Excessive Force & Renewed Scrutiny
  • Privacy & Cybersecurity
  • Russian & Other Foreign Actors’ Efforts to Undermine the Justice Systems of Western Democracies
  • Smart Contracts & Financial Technology
  • Social Media & Fake News
  • Suing or Removing the President: Impeachment, Executive Immunity & the 25th Amendment

JLS lectures are supplemented by speaker events featuring a variety of lawyers, judges and veteran journalists. Previous speakers have included:

  • Obie Anthony, Founder and Executive Director, Exonerated Nation; first exonerated client of Loyola Project for the Innocent
  • Hon. Scott Bales, Chief Justice, Arizona Supreme Court
  • Peter Bibring, Director of Police Practices, ACLU of CA
  • Hon. Patricia Breckeridge, Chief Justice, MO Supreme Court
  • Carol Costello, LMU Journalism Professor & Former CNN Anchor
  • Cornelia Dean, Author, Making Sense of Science: Separating Substance from Spin
  • Linda Deutsch, Special Correspondent, Associated Press
  • Richard E. Drooyan, Former President of L.A. Police Commission, Rampart Commission, Christopher Commission, Jail Commission
  • Nicolas Espiritu, National Immigration Law Center
  • Bob Fuss, Former Capitol Hill Correspondent, CBS News Radio
  • Max G. Huntsman, Inspector General, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
  • Shawn Holley, Partner, Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP
  • Marc Lacey, National Editor, The New York Times, and JLS alumnus
  • Judy Muller, Correspondent, ABC News
  • Warren Olney, Host, KPCC-FM
  • Hon. Paul Reiber, Chief Justice, Vermont Supreme Court
  • Connie Rice, Advancement Project<
  • Bill Whitaker, Correspondent, CBS News

What previous fellows have said about the JLS fellowship:

  • “This should probably be required of all journalists earlier in their careers.”
  • “It’s a program that delivers on its promise: teach journalists a better, more comprehensive understanding of the law.”
  • “I came to the program expecting a crash course in the law and, fortunately, I got that. I really felt I was being taught by the very best legal academic minds and it both humbled me and inspired me to re-dedicate myself to better journalistic endeavors down the road. The payoff: accurate reporting and thus a more well-informed society.”
  • “The professors at Loyola Law School know their stuff. I can’t think of any session where I questioned the level of knowledge held by the speaker – and, as a reporter, I am paid to be skeptical of people’s words.”

The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) is a founding sponsor of the program.