Clara Perez, Juvenile Justice Clinic
Clara joined the Juvenile Justice Clinic in August, 2020 and returned this year as a second year student. Clara learned how to advocate for young clients in LA’s Juvenile Delinquency system during the height of the pandemic by forging relationships with youth and their families via Webex and the phone when juvenile hall was on lockdown and before vaccines were widely available. She learned to be comfortable with both in person and web based court appearances; and she advocated thoroughly, convincingly and with passion for youth separated from their families during some of the pandemic’s darkest moments. Clara has thus been a beacon of hope for her clients, who see her as both an inspiration and a legal ally. She represented several JJC clients from arraignment through to contested adjudicative proceedings as well as guided them through juvenile probation. Clara’s ability to navigate the complexity of the juvenile justice system—and to forge professional relationships with the juvenile bench, probation officers, and other court staff—is a strong indicator of her future success as a public defender.
Her dedication and passion is best summed up by the fact that, in the waning months of her law school career, she signed up to take on a new, high-needs client, fight for their release from juvenile hall, and undertake the complex task of making sure they are safe and thriving at home. Clara is the best of Loyola; a native Angeleno dedicated to her community, our clinic and this school.