Stephanie Salceda, Juvenile Justice Clinic
Stephanie Salceda showed unparalleled commitment and passion to serving low-income youth charged with crimes in Los Angeles juvenile delinquency court over her two years in the Juvenile Justice Clinic. In her first year with the JJC, Stephanie was assigned one of the clinic’s most vulnerable clients, a 15-year-old Latinx boy with extremely low cognitive functioning who was charged with serious crimes and detained in juvenile hall while undergoing competency proceedings. Stephanie visited this young man—one of twelve sons to a single mother--every Friday for the entire semester, as well as Christmas Day. He came to rely on her as one of the most stable, caring adults in his life. She has also proven to be a deft and skilled advocate on several other high-stakes JJC cases, a diligent researcher and strong writer of high-quality briefs and memos who is able to grasp the law quickly and fully. She is fastidious in her preparation while flexible enough to handle sudden roadblocks and challenges with the law and her clients. The JJC expects its clinical students to go the extra mile in providing transformative, holistic representation to their young clients; Stephanie has gone an extra 1,000 miles. She never says no, never complains despite balancing work, family, school, and clinical obligations, and always has a positive attitude.
Kayla Burchuk, Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic
Throughout her two years in the JIFS Clinic, Kayla Burchuk has been not only a dedicated advocate, but also an eloquent spokesperson for the JIFS Clinic and its goals and ideals. Kayla represented one of the clinic’s most challenging clients in seeking parole and continues to advocate for this client during the pandemic. Kayla also did important investigative work on JIFS continuing efforts to exonerate client Kiera Newsome, who was wrongly convicted when she was a teenager. Kayla has been an advocate for the JIFS clinic at the law school and in the professional world.
Karla Preciado, Youth Justice Education Clinic
Karla Preciado enrolled in YJEC for both her 2L and 3L years a well. She demonstrated extraordinary initiative in remaining in constant communication with clients, helping them to navigate challenging situations and earning their trust. She diligently tracked down essential education records needed to represent her clients at IEP meetings. Karla advocated at IEPs to obtain essential counseling services, helped address and articulate youth and parent concerns, and protected youth from unnecessary law enforcement contact. For another client pushed out of numerous schools, Karla worked to re-enroll him on track to finish the last credits he needed to obtain his high school diploma. Over the course of numerous IEPs, she worked with another outstanding YJEC student (Paul Garcia---see below) to secure a therapeutic residential treatment center for a client, all the while counseling the client and his mother through the process. Overall, Karla was an outstanding YJEC students whose advocacy played a fundamental role in helping her clients to advance on their paths toward high-school graduation.
Paul Garcia, Youth Justice Education Clinic
Paul Garcia enrolled in YJEC for his 2L and 3L years. He represented many young people and their families in special education proceedings over the course of his two years in YJEC. Paul represented one client zealously and diligently through both years, including attending multiple Individualized Education Program ("IEP") meetings on behalf of the client. At the final IEP he attended, Paul held the school district to account for their failures to meet the client's disability-related behavioral needs and advocated for his client to obtain a one-to-one aide, which the school district had fought for months. Paul worked with another outstanding YJEC student (Karla Preciado---see above) over the course of numerous IEPs to secure a therapeutic residential treatment center for a client, all the while counseling the client and his mother through the process. Paul was a strong student and a fantastic advocate. We wish him the best!
Kathleen Rivas, Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic
During her two years as an LIJC student, Kathleen Rivas represented a 15-year-old woman from Mexico who was abused and abandoned by her father and who thus, with Kathleen’s help, petitioned for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). Being a teenager, this client was not easy to build rapport with, but Kathleen and her partner used creative tactics, such as funny games, to break the ice and connect. These efforts became the foundation for a close and productive relationship with their client, so much so that upon noticing a lump on her neck, Kathleen urged her and her mother to seek medical attention, leading to a cancer diagnosis and aggressive treatment at the same time that the SIJS petition was being filed. While guiding her through the SIJS process and supporting her through treatment, Kathleen’s commitment resulted in a bond that will persist into the future. Kathleen also currently represents a Honduran woman and her teenage son who, while in removal proceedings, have applied for asylum based on the severe domestic abuse they suffered in their home country. In both matters, Kathleen has demonstrated a high level of professionalism, passion, empathy, and creativity. She employs best practices, such as trauma-informed and client-centered lawyering, and consequently has achieved excellent results.
Katherine Ullrich, Loyola Genocide Justice Clinic
Despite having very little background in the subject, Katherine Ullrich dove into the research for her complex international law question, which asked for a broad discussion synthesizing the contours of a fundamental principle of international criminal law. She researched a wide range of cases from major human rights tribunals and international criminal tribunals, immediately engaging with the material despite not yet knowing exactly what she was looking for or having a clear sense of what might be useful for the external requesting partner. Her enthusiasm, diligence, and clear communication contributed to her success in the clinic.
Tanling Hsu, Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution
Hilary Morman, Loyola Project for the Innocent
In her two years working with LPI, Hilary Morman has displayed both the enthusiasm and legal ability necessary to handle progressively more difficult and complicated work. In her 3L year, as a leader of a student team, Hilary is responsible for identifying witnesses, connecting them to potential legal claims, and creating an investigation plan to locate and interview those witnesses. The role requires legal acumen as well as leadership and management skills, and Hilary has performed exceptionally.
This past fall, LPI stepped into a case mid-litigation, after an inmate secured a court date on his own and reached out to LPI for representation at the hearing. This meant that LPI had to conduct an accelerated investigation, a process that usually takes several years, in the span of a few months. At the same time, the petition had to be amended and refiled. Hilary has played a crucial role in keeping the case on track despite the shortened timetable. She drafted the amended petition, which meant she had to become familiar with the large case file quickly. She has had to adjust the claims and legal theories in the draft petition as new information comes in from witnesses, and in doing so has displayed the creativity and flexibility required of lawyers working in high-stakes litigation.
Paige McGrail, Loyola Project for the Innocent
Paige McGrail joined LPI as a summer student, literally the first day she was allowed to work in a clinic. Her commitment to the work of LPI has demonstrated itself time and again over the subsequent two years as rooted not only in a passion for helping others, but also a deep dissatisfaction with the status quo of the criminal justice system. Her work ethic, compassion for victims of wrongful conviction, and determination for a better justice system make her a perfect candidate for this award.
Paige played a prominent role in the filing of LPI’s largest and most ambitious habeas petition to date, working tirelessly to investigate police reports, interview witnesses, research forensic science issues, and meet with experts in developing this difficult case, including identifying a real alternate suspect in the murder. Her excellent legal writing and research skills led to her work’s incorporation into critical portions of the petition. She also demonstrated excellent leadership and legal skills in coordinating the efforts of the staff attorneys in reviewing, editing, and filing the petition.
Paige has gone above and beyond the role of a clinical student. She is always taking initiative and eager to accept additional assignments and responsibilities. Paige acts as an important resource for students and attorneys alike. She understands the collaborative nature of social justice work. Regardless of her own caseload, she is always flexible and willing to drop what she is doing and give help where it’s needed.
Oscar Berumen, Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic
Oscar’s dedication to JIFS Clinic’s clients, and his ability to represent them in various venues, including outside the post-conviction context, make him a standout JIFS Clinic student. Oscar advocated for numerous clients on resentencing and parole, including an exceptional mitigation hearing in LA Superior Court. In another case, Oscar worked under the supervision of JIFS professors to successfully achieve his client’s release on parole. After the client was released into USCIS custody, Oscar worked in collaboration with LIJC staff to fight against his removal to Mexico.