Léna Kerouani

Loyola Project for the Innocent

Lena Kerouani
Léna Kerouani, Loyola Project for the Innocent

LPI is grateful for the outstanding work and dedication of LLM student Léna Kerouani. Léna’s life has been dedicated to social justice work and aligns with LLS’s mission to educate individuals with “a deep concern for social justice” and to “provide opportunities… to the poor, the underprivileged, women, and minorities.”

Léna says, “As the daughter of an Algerian father who grew up in extreme poverty and a French/Polish mother, growing up in a multicultural environment, it was instilled in me from a very young age that our differences are not only a benefit to us, but also make us more aware of the diverse and complex realities of society as a whole.” 

Before attending LLS, Léna worked as a child welfare social worker in Paris but--after witnessing how social injustices are interconnected—pursued a career in criminal law to better the socially and economically disadvantaged. As a lawyer, Léna has represented refugees in an immigrant detention center and worked for the Federal Public Defender on cases of international terrorism.  Lena has always been drawn to defending clients sentenced with severe prison terms and chose to pursue at LLM at Loyola Law School because of Los Angeles’s pervasive social and racial disparities, which are ripe for reform. She was attracted to LPI’s work in particular after her father was, partly due to his race, falsely accused of a crime. She joined LPI while still awaiting acceptance into the LLM program.

Léna’s commitment to zealously advocating for LPI’s wrongfully convicted clients does not end with her stellar legal advocacy.  Léna’s empathetic and friendly approach reinforces for LPI’s clients that she understands the great injustice committed them and that she will tirelessly fight for their release.  In the clinic, she is a successful investigator, drafts outstanding expert reports on police practices, writes sections of petitions for writ of habeas corpus for clients who have been incarcerated for nearly 30 years, and strategizes approaches to complex legal issues.   She is the first student to volunteer for any assignment whether it is research, writing, investigation, or community -based work.

In addition to her work as a clinical student at LPI, Léna has begun supporting LPI’s work on women incarcerated in California in cases where no crime actually occurred.  Her work as a Research Assistant for LPI is funded through the American Bar Endowment.