The Loyola Social Justice Law Clinic: Meeting the needs of Los Angeles’ Most Vulnerable During the COVID-19 Crisis

At no time in recent memory has the Loyola Social Justice Law Clinic mission been more urgent than it is right now, with COVID-19 measures further exacerbating the injustices already visited upon our most vulnerable populations. Whether facing homelessness, deportation, detention, unlawful imprisonment, bankruptcy, eviction, or the school-to-prison pipeline, Los Angelenos can turn to the LSJLC for help.

By simultaneously serving those who struggle against interrelated forms of discrimination and training future generations of advocates to do the same, the LSJLC challenges inequity where it lives: in courts, in schools, in prisons, in immigrant communities, on the streets, and in L.A. County’s poorest neighborhoods.

The LSJLC is a collective of 20+ community-serving live-client legal clinics whose students have dedicated more than 60,000 pro-bono hours per year to helping over 50,000 clients—and untold numbers over the course of graduates’ legal careers. Collaborating with these students are deeply committed clinical faculty, attorneys, social workers, investigators, researchers, and outreach and support staff. Together, they strive to help a broad spectrum of impoverished Los Angelenos benefit from the protections of the law.

In addition to its ongoing advocacy operations, the clinic’s current Covid-19 focused efforts include:

  • The Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic (LIJC), a community-based collaboration with Homeboy Industries, Inc., and Dolores Mission that provides direct legal services to indigent immigrant clients residing in East Los Angeles, recently completed an outreach campaign to hundreds of undocumented community members to inform them of their eligibility for the COVID-19 Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants Program, a CDSS-sponsored grant of $500 to qualifying individuals.
  • The Center for Juvenile Law and Policy (CJLP), which holistically represents indigent foster youth who are also involved in juvenile delinquency matters and at serious risk of the school-to-prison pipeline, recently filed impact litigation with the California Supreme Court to order that the juvenile court release more youth from custody and comply with CDC guidelines for COVID-19 in all juvenile halls and camps. In addition, CJLP education advocates, , are lobbying to hold state, county and city officials accountable for their failures to protect the education rights of detained juveniles during the pandemic.
  • The Loyola Project for the Innocent (LPI), who along with the Death Penalty Clinic and the Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic (JIFS) represent individuals incarcerated in CA prisons in post-conviction matters that include unfair juvenile sentencing and innocence claims, successfully secured the release of Jane Dorotik, who was wrongfully convicted for her husband’s murder in 2020. LPI led an emergency application for her release on the grounds that her advanced age and conditions within the prison due to Covid-19 left her at extreme risk of infection while the outcome of her habeas appeal was pending.

To learn more about these and many other community-serving clinics who seek to close the justice gap exacerbated by COVID-19, please visit here or contact:

Elizabeth Bluestein
Executive Director of Loyola Social Justice Clinic
213.736.8102 | Elizabeth.Bluestein@lls.edu