Introducing the Loyola Social Justice Law Clinic

Introducing the Loyola Social Justice Law Clinic

Watch a video introducing the Loyola Social Justice Law Clinic

Loyola Law School, Los Angeles celebrated the grand opening of its Loyola Social Justice Law Clinic (LSJLC) and the inauguration of the International Human Rights Clinic, a partnership with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office of Reentry, during a ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 on Loyola’s downtown L.A. campus.

The LSJLC is an impressive aggregation of Loyola’s criminal defense, immigration, post-conviction relief and other clinics focused on important issues under one roof. Thanks to a dramatic renovation of nearly 23,000 square feet of Loyola’s Founders Hall, the new LSJLC houses together for the first time multiple Law School clinics: the CCCJP, International Human Rights Clinic, Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic, Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic, Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic, and Collateral Consequences of Conviction Justice Project, to name just a few.

Mimicking the approach of a law firm with several specialties, the Center will provide students with a more realistic look at the life of a law practice. The move allows Loyola’s clinics to better support their clients through efficiencies in shared services. Clinics now share support staff, case-management software and amenities like conference rooms and a client waiting area.

The clinics housed in the new LSJLC have experienced significant growth since their respective launches. The Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic, the first law school-housed community-based immigration clinic in the United States, has added three staff attorneys and conducted more than 10,000 client consultations; since its 2012 inception.

The Youth Justice Education Clinic, which secured the release of four clients in spring 2017 alone, has added two full-time attorneys to supervise students and is adding an attorney and investigator.

Loyola’s Juvenile Justice Clinic, the only program in Los Angeles where law students represent children accused of criminal offenses in delinquency court, will add 20 new clients this year to the list of 15 clients it continues to represent.

Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic students conducted more than two dozen mitigation and resentencing hearings last year, achieving reversals in four of five cases appealed at the California Court of Appeal. The Youth Justice Education Clinic last year hosted two major education law conferences in addition to its work training all L.A. County Probation Officers responsible for transitioning juvenile camp or hall youth back into their neighborhood schools. Meanwhile, the International Human Rights Clinic has more than two dozen matters pending before regional and international courts and tribunals, with students traveling 120,000 miles globally to date for advocacy and fieldwork.

Joining Loyola’s expanding list of clinics is the newly formed Collateral Consequences of Conviction Justice Project, or CCCJLP, a collaboration between Loyola and Mayor Garcetti’s Office of Reentry that will be charged with helping the disadvantaged reclaim their lives after incarceration. Under the supervision of an attorney, project students will represent clients seeking to clean their records for purposes of employment, immigration, child support and professional licensing.

Loyola instituted other new clinics in the 2017-18 academic year. Students in the Workers Rights Clinic represent low-wage workers in marginalized communities, assisting in mediation and settlement hearings. Meanwhile, Street Law Teaching Practicum students teach law-related critical life skills to survivors of domestic violence.

Loyola’s mission has always focused on serving the underserved,” said Cindy Archer, Associate Dean for Clinical Programs & Experiential Learning. “Our new Social Justice Law Center and expanded offerings give our students even more ways to gain practical experience while giving back to the community.

Loyola has long been committed to social justice, with more than 1 million pro bono hours donated to 50,000-plus clients since the school’s 1920 founding. The first ABA-accredited school in California to institute a pro bono requirement for graduation, Loyola’s students annually donate about 60,000 of pro bono services.

Student Experiences

Alma Piñan

Alma Piñan '17

Evening Student Explores Law as Juvenile Advocate

Eduardo Balderas '18

Eduardo Balderas '18

Helping L.A.'s Immigrant Community

Hannah Brown and Andrew Wilson

Hannah Brown ’18

In Securing Freedom for Clients, Student Finds Passion for Justice

Krithika Santhanam '17

Juvenile Justice Advocate Graduates with Lifelong Connections

Featured Clinic Directors

Laurie Levenson

Laurie Levenson

Loyola Project for the Innocent Founder Loves the Law

Sean Kennedy

Sean Kennedy

Reforming the Juvenile Criminal Justice System

Marissa Montes & Emily Robinson

Serving Clients in Climate of Fear

Mary Culbert

Mary Culbert

For Pioneering Mediation Professor, L.A. Is Classroom

Learn More about our clinics

  • Collaborative Family Law Clinic

    The Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution's (C-LAW) provides students the opportunity to shadow attorneys who, together with mental health professionals and financial experts, volunteer their time to assist modest income couples in resolving their family law matters. 

  • Consumer Bankruptcy Clinic

    Loyola's Consumer Bankruptcy Clinic offers law students a unique opportunity to work directly with clients in need. Instruction focuses on substantive bankruptcy law and procedure and address issues involving professional responsibility within the bankruptcy context. One class will also be devoted to consumer law issues that all bankruptcy practitioners should be familiar with. During the semester students will interview up to four people looking to file for bankruptcy protection. They will analyze their financial situation, prepare documents and bankruptcy petitions and counsel them on how to properly navigate their way through the bankruptcy process.

  • Dependency Court Mediation Assistance Clinic

    Part of Loyola's Center for Conflict Resolution, the Dependency Court Mediation Assistance Clinic provides students an inside look at family law, allowing them to perform critical tasks alongside lawyers as families resolve their child custody issues. At DC-MAC, students are trained in mediation and conciliation (telephone mediation). After receiving mediation training and an additional 6 hours of training on Dependency Court - and passing the court background check - students observe, co-mediate and draft mediation agreements/Court Exit Orders in the Edmund D. Edelman's Children's Courthouse. Until students pass the background check, or if there are no scheduled mediations in Dependency Court, students engage in conciliation work at Loyola's Center for Conflict Resolution in a wide variety of cases including, but not limited to, landlord-tenant, neighbor-to-neighbor, family disputes, divorce, consumer-merchant, discrimination, and organizational conflicts.

  • Employment Rights Clinic

    The Employment Rights Clinic is a unique collaboration between Loyola Law School and the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE or Labor Commissioner) in which students will investigate, mediate, and recommend outcomes for employment retaliation claims filed with the DLSE. The one-semester course includes a weekly two-hour classroom seminar. The classroom seminar will cover substantive state and federal anti-retaliation law, the broader universe of employment laws in which retaliation may occur, and the role of the Labor Commissioner in regulating the workplace. Students will also be required to investigate employment retaliation claims filed with the DLSE. Each student will be assigned an individual case for which s/he will conduct telephonic interviews of the parties and witnesses, review documentary evidence provided by the parties, attempt to mediate a settlement (where appropriate), and write a decision if the case does not settle. While there will be instructor-imposed deadlines set for different stages of the investigation conducted by each student, there is no fixed schedule or location for completion of the investigation component of the clinic. 

  • International Human Rights Clinic

    Rooted in the Law School's values and tradition of social justice, academic freedom, personal integrity and professional ethics, the overarching mission of the at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles ("IHRC" or "clinic") is to contribute to the attainment of the fullest exercise of human rights by all human beings throughout the world. In carrying out this mission, the IHRC aims to maximize the use of global and regional legal and political institutions through litigation, advocacy and capacity-building. The Clinic's work involves litigation of human rights violations before a wide array of international bodies, and advocacy and international policy-making on pressing human rights issues.

    As an educational institution, the clinic transforms its mission and goals into a unique practical experience for its students, providing opportunities to gain vital knowledge and skills for effective and successful legal advocacy on behalf of victims of human rights abuses. 
    At the same time, through the strategic use of international and regional mechanisms for the protection of human rights, the clinic provides exceptional pro bono legal assistance and empowers victims of human rights violations, and the organizations representing them, to utilize international and regional mechanisms.

    While students work on all stages of an individual case or engage in advocacy efforts on particular thematic issues, they learn how to conceptualize and strategize diverse approaches and grapple with practical, ethical, methodological and theoretical challenges involved. 
    Through the clinic, Loyola's students have the opportunity to expand their perspectives and reach the world from Los Angeles.

    The clinic is active year-round, over three terms. Students sign up for two consecutive terms (*up to three units (pass/fail) per term, for a total of maximum 6 units*). Students working at the Clinic during the summer have the*option of*being compensated through the*work-study program*instead of earning units. Clinic units also count toward the completion of the *pro bono graduation requirement*. Introduction to International Law is a pre-requisite for the clinic. It can be satisfied either prior to enrolling or concurrently during work at the Clinic.

    Clinic students meet once a week for two hours. The first hour is devoted to class discussion regarding international human rights topics and attorney skill development. The second hour is reserved for project work, as the project teams meet with supervising faculty to strategize and discuss any questions or issues confronted in their work.

    The clinic is directed by Professor Cesare Romano and Professor Mary Hansel.

  • Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic

    The is a complete experience in post-conviction criminal defense, through the lens of juvenile post-conviction sentencing. Students prepare, file and litigate three types of claims: (1) re-sentencing claims for clients whose commitment offenses occurred when they were juveniles; (2) wrongful conviction actions for persons convicted as juveniles; and (3) youth offender parole hearings. Students represent incarcerated clients in Los Angeles Superior Court, the California and Federal Courts of Appeal, and the Board of Parole Hearings. All students engage in extensive client and witness interviewing and counseling, in-court litigation, drafting and filing of petitions and motions, hands-on investigation, and appellate advocacy. Students who complete the JIFS Clinic are in high demand for public defender post-bar clerkships; the depth of knowledge and commitment they gain is unique, even among law school clinics. The law of juvenile sentencing is undergoing constant change, and students work at the cutting edge of this law.

  • Juvenile Justice Clinic

    The at Loyola Law School is one of a small handful of live client clinics nationwide where students have the opportunity to regularly represent children in delinquency court. 

    Students directly represent children charged with offenses in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Each student will be responsible for all aspects of their cases-- including interviewing, discovery, investigations, written motion work, trial and post sentencing matters. Clinical students are required to enroll in a year-long juvenile delinquency and litigation skills course. Course Information.

    A multidisciplinary approach to representing children is the hallmark of our philosophy. Our social-work staff plays a key role in our representation of every one of our clients. See information on .

  • Landlord Tenant Clinic

    The Landlord Tenant Clinic provides students with an opportunity to work with low-income clients on their eviction matter beginning with the filing of an unlawful detainer complaint through trial proceeding. Students will learn the basics of landlord/tenant law including the eviction process, notice requirements, rent control, and common defenses with an emphasis on practical skills. In addition to regular class time, students will be expected to work on site at the Shriver Housing Project Eviction Assistance Center (EAC) a minimum of (6) hours each week during the first half of the course. Students can expect to interview litigants, assess cases for legal merit, prepare legal pleadings, provide counsel & advice and in some cases make direct referrals to partner agencies for possible representation at trial under the supervision of staff attorneys at the EAC which is located at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. During the second half of the semester, students will be required to complete their on-site learning at one of four legal service agencies in the Shriver collaborative. Students should expect to expand on their knowledge of evictions at the trial level and work alongside a Shriver housing attorney to represent tenants in the latter part of the case including but not limited to preparation of discovery, observation and participation in deposition, negotiation, trial strategy discussions and limited appearance in court on the day of trial. 

  • Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic

    The (LIJC) is a community-based collaboration of Loyola Law School, Loyola Marymount University, Homeboy Industries Inc., and Dolores Mission Church. LIJC’s dual-pronged mission is to advance the rights of the indigent immigrant population in East Los Angeles through direct legal services, education, and community empowerment, while teaching law students effective immigrants’ rights lawyering skills in a real world setting. LIJC focuses on providing representation to individuals who are unable to obtain immigration legal services elsewhere with an emphasis on immigrants with certain immigration and criminal complications who reside in the East Los Angeles area. 

  • Ninth Circuit Appellate Clinic

    Loyola offers third-year day students and fourth-year evening students interested in appellate advocacy the opportunity to participate in the .  Students in this two-semester clinic are appointed by the Court to represent clients with appeals pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in civil cases and immigration cases, under the supervision of Adjunct Prof. Paula Mitchell. 

    In a typical year, students in the clinic draft and file the opening brief on appeal during the fall semester.  The answer brief will be filed in December, and the students spend their spring semester drafting the reply brief and preparing for oral argument, which usually takes place in April. 

  • Workers' Rights Clinic

    Students in the Workers' Rights Clinic will representing low-wage immigrant workers in a largely Asian and Pacific Islander community on behalf of local civil-rights agencies. Students will receive substantive research, writing and interviewing experience, which may include writing litigation memos, preparing hearing briefs, writing legal research memos, drafting declarations, interviewing clients and/or witnesses, and/or preparing clients for mediation or settlement, or representing clients at hearings. Students will be challenged to wrestle with questions about the role of a lawyer in movements for social change and how to use legal strategies in conjunction with other, non-legal strategies to achieve a social justice goal.

  • Youth Justice Education Clinic

    As the phrase “school to prison pipeline” attests, there is proven causal relationship between unmet special-education needs and court involvement. Many of the Center for Juvenile Law & Policy’s clients are children who are entitled to Regional Center services, social security relief, or Individualized Education Plans that the school system has failed to provide. For this reason, the Center also features a , where law students under the supervision of an education attorney represent these clients in due process hearings, disciplinary hearings, and IEP assessments in order to advocate for their legal entitlements. By addressing the special education needs of these children, the Center increases their chances for a lasting positive outcome. 

  • Loyola Project for the Innocent

    Loyola Law School’s (LPI) is dedicated to the exoneration of the wrongfully convicted. Loyola Law School students are the heart and soul of the clinic, which is yearlong.  If, after a thorough investigation of a case, a true claim of innocence is provable, clinic students will help draft a habeas petition so that the case can be litigated in court. 

  • Collateral Consequences of Conviction Justice Project

    The dire consequences of a felony conviction last far longer than the years spent in prison and time spent under post-release supervision. In addition to those direct punishments, returning citizens are often denied licenses for many jobs, lose their right to vote, are separated from their families, denied driver’s licenses and denied housing. In response to the pervasive, negative and stifling impact these collateral consequences of conviction have on formerly incarcerated community members, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is partnering with Loyola Law School (LLS) to offer the . The Clinic will provide free legal representation to individuals with past criminal justice involvement to assist them in navigating and overcoming many of the collateral consequences of conviction with the goal of facilitating successful reintegration into society.

  • Conciliation and Mediation Assistance Clinic

    Offered Spring 2018.  More information coming soon.  In the meantime, please see the webpage for the .

  • Pro Se Mediation Advocacy Clinic

    Students will represent Pro se litigants whose employment and housing discrimination cases are being mediated before the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Learn the law of discrimination, and practice the skills to mediate and draft lawful settlements.  For more information, please contact .

  • Veterans Justice Clinic

    Los Angeles County has more homeless Veterans than any other state in the nation. When surveyed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, homeless Veterans rank eight legal concerns as their highest unmet needs, ahead of permanent, transitional, and emergency housing. This unique clinic offers students first-hand experience in advocating for low-income veteran clients to ensure their economic security, promote housing stability, and remove barriers to self-sufficiency.

    The course includes a two-unit classroom seminar and a one- to two-unit externship. The classroom component covers practical lawyering skills, as well as a survey of the substantive laws impacting the low-income veteran community. Students will also examine the fundamental structure of the Department of Veterans Affairs and will develop a critical understanding of the VA's role in securing veteran justice. The externship component will involve working directly with veteran clients under close instructor supervision, and will be held primarily at Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles' (LAFLA) South LA office, with additional off-site opportunities at client outreach events. Students may choose one externship credit (52 hours of field work) or two externship credits (104 hours of field work). To fulfill the externship credit(s), students must commit to work at LAFLA's office one half-day to one full-day per week. The course is graded pass/fail and a passing grade satisfies the LLS pro bono requirement.