List of Past & Current Post Graduate Fellows
Meghan Best worked with the Children's Defense Fund. As part of her project, Meghan worked with community organizations within Mar Vista Gardens, a housing project in West Los Angeles, to document, analyze, and eventually brainstrom strategies to combat the overpolicing of juveniles. Additionally, and along with other organizations throughout Los Angeles, Meghan studied the collateral consequences of involvement in the juvenile delinquency system, particularly those related to housing rights for juveniles and their families living in HACLA communities. Along with gathering information and strategic planning with stake holders, Mehghan also represented CDF clients in juvenile delinquency court.
Megan Bradley represented individuals who were wrongfully convicted with Loyola's Project for the Innocent. Megan focused on investigating claims and drafting habeas petitions for LPI's most difficult "cold" cases. During her fellowship, Megan collected data on innocence claims, identified patterns that gave rise to wrongful convictions, and advocated for criminal justice reform based on her research. Finally, Megan worked with LPI to execute advocacy plans and campaign for changes to unjust sentencing guidelines for youth offenders.
Marisa Sacks worked with the Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing (JIFS) Clinic as a Training and Resentencing Fellow to provide services to clients at specialized hearings called Franklin hearings, as well as training and materials for the attorneys who conduct those hearings. Franklin is a brand new remedy that allows youth offenders serving life sentences, and who are eligible for Youth Offender Parole Hearings, to present mitigating evidence pertaining to the "hallmark qualities of youth", in court proceedings. In addition to providing direct services to clients and representing clients at their Franklin hearings, Marisa facilitated trainings for attorneys, clients, clinical students, and experts in Franklin hearings, with an eye toward creating a "best practices" manual to be used by practitioners throughout the state of California. Ultimately, Marisa worked with the JIFS Clinic toward its goals of remedying juvenile oversentencing and creating new law, policy, and practices in the area of juvenile sentencing in California.
Emmy Aceves sought to break the school-to-prison pipeline by reducing racial disparities in school discipline, particularly those related to "willful defiance" with Legal Services of Northern California in Sacramento. The project used a sustainable advocacy model where she represented students in expulsion hearings, worked to remove "defiance discipline" from schools, implemented implicit bias training for teachers and administrators, and educated the community about its discipline rights.
Hannah Comstock helped to create a project with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU) to minimize the effects of exclusionary school discipline and campus law enforcement practices that needlessly criminalize vulnerable student groups in the Inland Empire. Through her project, Hannah represented students in school disciplinary proceedings, collaborated with local students' rights coalitions and community partners to pursue broader advocacy efforts, and challenged systemic discrimination through impact litigation.
Hannah Van De Car worked with the Louisiana Center for Children's Rights to implement Montgomery v. Louisiana, the Supreme Court's decision to make Miller v. Alabama retroactive. Collectively, these decisions offer the possibility of resentencing or parole for individuals who were convicted and sentenced as juveniles to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The project focused on building coalitions with community members to end juvenile life without parole, and assisting defense advocates in parole hearings and resentencing litigation in Louisiana.
Alejandro Barajas developed a project with the Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic to provide free direct legal services for the new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and Extended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applicants within the indigent immigrant community in East Los Angeles. Through Alejandro's project, he engaged in education efforts to inform the noncitizen community of the status, eligibility requirements and benefits allotted through the programs. He also trained and mobilized law students and attorneys in the greater LA area to provide greater pro bono assistance in order to advance immigrant rights and related reform.
Cameron Bell teamed with Demos working with the Voter Protection Project. The project was a three-pronged nonpartisan advocacy campaign that used litigation, public education, strategic communication, and policy advocacy to prevent practices that purge eligible voters from voter registration lists, effectively disenfranchising them.
Jessica Mark added a new component to Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles' (LAFLA) government benefits advocacy. Through her project, individuals encountering major barriers to public assistance due to their lack of knowledge of the rules or government agency error, misapplication of the law or intransigence will get the legal assistance from an attorney that they need to access subsistence benefits. The project focused on Skid Row and South Los Angeles targeting populations most in need which included individuals with criminal histories who were trying to improve their lives, the mentally ill, seniors, and persons with disabilities.
Dean Conklin began working with Learning Rights Law Center by providing advocacy to students with mental health needs who were in the foster care system. Dean's project focused specifically on issues created due to the elimination of AB 3632 funding, as well as issues that existed for children who have trouble accessing county-delivered services because of out-of-county foster care placements. Dean provided direct services to children who faced these daunting issues, and worked with Learning Rights to develop educational materials and provide in-person training to help involved schools, administrative agencies, and affected families streamline communication and understand their legal rights and responsibilities.
Laura Diven joined the Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project (LA HLPP) in serving the legal needs of over 60,000 people living with HIV in Los Angeles County. LA HLPP is a collaborative program of the UCLA School of Law, the AIDS Legal Services Project of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Disability Rights Legal Center, and Inner City Law Center. LA HLPP offers a comprehensive legal intake system, education, outreach, and direct legal services for those living with HIV. Laura focused her project on expanding LA HLPP’s services to currently underserved populations, primarily women and those living in the perimeter cities of Los Angeles County.
Natalie Klasky worked with Public Counsel's Consumer Law Project to ensure Veterans and low-income individuals in Los Angeles County were protected against the predatory practices of for-profit schools. Her fellowship sought to address other consumer law violations against Veterans, such as those involving payday lending and harassment by collection agencies. To achieve the goals of this fellowship, Natalie conducted legal research and intake to determine the viability of an impact litigation case against for-profit schools taking advantage of Veterans living in the Los Angeles area. In addition, Natalie provided direct consumer law services for Veterans through legal clinics and at those clinics, she surveyed other consumer law needs. Natalie also worked with the Consumer Law Project to develop "Know Your Rights" workshops. Furthermore, she worked on a national level with the American Bar Association (ABA) to address Veterans' consumer law issues. Lastly, Natalie conducted legal research and intake with the Consumer Law Project for all low-income individuals to bolster her knowledge of this area of the law and further pursue her passion to work for social justice.
Mieko Failey focused on healing the damage caused by discrimination and advocating for full access and equality for all people regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender identity at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. Ms. Failey's project, The Violence within and Violence Against LGBTQ Youth Legal Advocacy (VIVA Project), provided direct representation to and advocacy on behalf of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning youth victims of bullying, dating violence, sexual assault, and hate crimes.
Claudia Menjivar supported the Western Center on Law and Poverty's belief that low-income Californians deserve the finest possible legal representation before every institution that shapes their lives - courts, the legislature, government agencies, and private organizations. Ms. Menjivar provided assistance to the poor focusing on public benefits, healthcare, affordable housing and access to justice issues through impact litigation; legislative and policy advocacy; negotiations and collaborations with state and local government; and support for local legal aid programs. Ms. Menjivar's project and newly created position sought to improve access to the state's three largest basic needs programs, CalWORKS, CalFRESH and Medi-Cal, for the 2.5 million low-income persons with limited English proficiency through litigation, policy advocacy, and training of legal services staff.
Kelsey Williams worked with the Association of Pro Bono Counsel (APBCo), a membership organization of attorneys, who on a full-time basis manage the pro bono programs at major law firms across the country to elevate firm participation in pro bono activities and support ongoing pro bono work. In partnership with OneJustice, the nationwide APBCo IMPACT (Involving More Pro bono Attorneys in our Communities Together) program sponsored Ms. Williams' project to provide free wrap-around legal representation to low-income survivors of domestic violence and abuse and assist them by addressing their long-term legal needs such as housing, eligibility for public benefits and immigration status.
Joanna Florentyna Furmanska created the first nonprofit immigration unit in the Inland Empire working with attorneys at Inland Counties Legal Services. Her project focused on serving victims of violence and human trafficking. Joanna collaborated with local victims' rights and anti-trafficking coalitions to reach out to victims, educate the public and coordinate services. She also worked with these groups to strengthen relationships with local law enforcement agencies. Finally, she created a network of experts and pro bono attorneys who committed to serving victims in the future providing immigrant victims in the region a more holistic support system.
Brendan Hamme worked at the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California to secure the rights of all students to an education, freedom of speech, due process, privacy and to learn in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and bullying. Brendan pursued these goals through an aggressive campaign of impact litigation, policy advocacy and community engagement. Specifically, he: 1) expanded the Juvenile Rights Project model, which brought Loyola Law School students to local high schools to teach the students their civil rights vis-a-vis the police and expand this policy to other law schools in Southern California; 2) developed a similar program teaching such students their First Amendment rights on their campuses; 3) continued the work begun combating invasive cell phone searches and seizures; and 4) worked with the Seth Walsh Student Rights Project to address the current epidemic of bullying confronting LGBT youth.
Emily Robinson and H. Marissa Montes partnered with Homeboy Industries, Inc. alongside Eleanor Miller, Director of Legal Services, to 1) provide immigration relief to constituents of Homeboy Industries, Dolores Mission, and the East L.A. community through direct legal services, and 2) educate law students, community members, and current legal practitioners on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions. Emily and Marissa provided legal representation to immigrants with minor criminal convictions who were eligible for humanitarian immigration. They engaged Loyola Law School students to host community outreach events, and to assist with identifying clients who are eligible for their services. Additionally, Emily and Marissa developed materials and held monthly workshops to train immigration and criminal defense attorneys and community leaders to equip them with the legal tools needed to protect immigrants from wrongful deportation based on minor criminal convictions.
Veronica Aragón worked with the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) to narrow the gap between the normative international human rights standards and the current status of women’s rights in the Americas by focusing on women’s access to justice. Spending the first year in Washington, D.C. and the second in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Veronica implemented a four part strategy: 1) research and publication to create a knowledge management system accessible to human rights defenders throughout America and from which to build a litigation strategy; 2) initiate litigation before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and Inter-American Court of Human Rights to deepen the jurisprudence on women’s rights in the Americas and monitor country compliance with past jurisprudence to ensure domestic implementation of international norms; 3) conduct regional and country-specific education and outreach activities to assist local human rights defenders in bringing cases at the domestic and regional levels; and 4) advocate before nation states through regional mechanisms such as the General Assembly of the Organization of American States and through domestic human rights organizations.
David Szeles worked at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) to expand their affirmative gender based asylum program as well as provide legal services, screenings and placement for detained immigrant victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes and asylum seekers at a newly opened detention center in Orange County. David's project addressed a critical gap in legal services in Orange County where no single service provider has had the capacity to serve this unrepresented detainee population.
Anna Walther worked with the indigenous people of Guatemala to protect their collective rights, especially the right to consultation concerning the exploitation and use of their ancestral lands. Working with the Office of Human Rights of the Archdiocese of Guatemala, Anna collaborated with a team of lawyers dedicated to making the pluricultural society of Guatemala a less exclusionary society and a society that respects and fosters human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples. Her work focused on the proliferation of large scale industrial projects, extractive and agricultural, on indigenous peoples' lands and the processes related to consultation of the affected communities. The project also included an educational element to make the communities aware of their collective rights.
Rachel Brewer created a project for Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County (NLS-LA) that analyzed the existing public policies regulating foster youth care and how those policies were actually implemented in Los Angeles County. The project provided direct legal representation at foster care benefits administrative hearings, and advocacy and education to foster care children and their caregivers to ensure the receipt of the proper level of benefits.
Daniel James Ediger sought to enhance access to civil legal services for low income elderly persons, their families, and caregivers in Idaho at Idaho Legal Aid Services (ILAS). Dan's project focused on justice for the under privileged and poor through increased direct representation, development of topical community seminars and mobile legal clinics and the creation of a comprehensive Guidebook of Idaho Elder Law Rights and Options.
Jenna Gilbert empowered refugees throughout Ecuador to assert their rights through the development of a mobile legal aid clinic and the training of local community legal advisors. Jenna worked with Asylum Access in Africa helping refugees receive asylum and legal sanctuary in the countries to which they flee. Jenna's project helped to protect refugees from unlawful or unjust detention, deportation, torture and death with emphasis on providing the necessary tools for refugees to rebuild their lives in a new home, free from fear.
Megan Hayati worked with the Levitt and Quinn Family Law Center (LQFLC) to provide legal representation in family law matters to low-income working families living and working in the greater Los Angeles area. Megan's Intercountry Family Adoption Initiative was a legal project proposal which provided community education to families on their rights under the Adoption Hague Convention, educated attorneys about the implications of the Hague and their responsibilities to their clients in their intercountry adoption process.
Amanda Anderson provided legal support at the California Women's Law Center (CWLC), a non-profit organization that works extensively with community organizations to identify persistent and emerging issues of concern to women and girls, to implement strategies to address those concerns and make it possible for individuals to know, understand and change the laws that govern their rights. Amanda's project was a comprehensive public education, training and advocacy program designed to ensure that disabled female veterans' receive the benefits they are entitled to. Through research of the substantive and procedural law regarding veterans' benefits, conducted outreach to women's veterans organization in Los Angeles, and investigation of the barriers that female veterans encounter when trying to access their benefits, Amanda produced and distributed a legal resource guide for female veterans to help them through the Veterans Administration disability benefits process, create a pro bono program to match disabled female veterans with firms providing pro bono representation, and advocate for public policy solutions to their systemic problems uncovered by the program.
Melissa Keaney worked with the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) as a staff attorney to research, document, report on, and challenge, through litigation and other advocacy, state and local law enforcement participation in federal immigration enforcement. Melissa's project addressed the pressing needs of low-income immigrants and their families by focusing on state and local involvement in federal immigration enforcement and the inherent constitutional and human rights problems with the current framework.
Srividya Panchalam undertook work with the Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC) to establish a Housing and Homelessness Rights Initiative. The project addressed the needs of homeless people and encompassed work to combat systemic discrimination against people with disabilities who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Downtown and Skid Row in Los Angeles via education, litigation and legislative advocacy.
Jaime Cartagena worked with the HIV & AIDS Legal Services Alliance, Inc. (HALSA) to provide legal advocacy to the Los Angeles County HIV/AIDS immigrant community. HALSA provides a wide scope of immigration services in order to help people living with HIV disease in the areas of health care, benefits, employment insurance, debtor relief, discrimination and housing. Jaime's project focused on HIV + undocumented women who face violence in their homes and who most often have contracted HIV from their male partners. With extensive outreach and training efforts to non-legal HIV/AIDS service providers, Jaime helped to provide and negotiate any positive resolution to the women and children who usually had no means of financial support and were totally dependent on their abusers.
Tommy Hung Keng Lim spearheaded a new community economic development effort, the Small Business Legal Aid for Los Angeles, as a staff attorney in the Community Economic Development (CED) Unit at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA). Tommy's project focused on small business development by rendering both legal and technical services sought by small business owners who are unable to afford such services from a private attorney.
Naomi Svensson was awarded a legal fellowship position with the International Justice Mission (IJM) providing litigation support for the legal team in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. IJM is a human rights organization that partners with governments in the developing world to help secure the rights of victims subject to violent forms of injustice. IJM's mission is to contribute to the significant reduction of child sexual exploitation and child sex-trafficking in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Silhanoukvile. Naomi's project encompassed research that would focus on the motives and methods employed by the human traffickers, brothel owners or others involved in the commercial sexual exploitation of women and children. The research sought to obtain trafficking intelligence from the unique perspective of the perpetrator and to learn factors of prevention and rehabilitation from incarcerated women who had been convicted of sex-trafficking related offenses and were typically the operators of the establishments that traffic underage girls for sexual exploitation.
Jaime Cartagena worked as a staff attorney at the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (LACLJ), a non-profit organization that provides free legal assistance to low-income residents of Los Angeles in the areas of family law (domestic violence restraining orders, child custody and visitation, child support, divorce, paternity; housing law (eviction defense, affirmative litigation regarding wrongful eviction, slum conditions, and tenant education; and, public benefits law (Social Security, SSI, Calworks, Medicare and Medi-Cal). Jaime's fellowship project encompassed the Chinese Legal Advocacy and Awareness Project which serves immigrant survivors of domestic violence, expanding the immigration practice to include services to immigrants with HIV/AIDS.
Marie Claire Tran was offered a staff attorney position at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. Her fellowship project aimed to reduce employment barriers for people with criminal records. Specifically, she focused on increasing the accuracy and reliability of those records as well as limiting their dissemination by private companies. The Shriver Center champions economic opportunity through laws and policies that help people move permanently out of poverty. Through policy development, communications, and diverse advocacy strategies, the Shriver Center leads a national network of advocates and attorneys who are taking action to end poverty. The Shriver Center is improving the lives of low-wage workers, advancing families toward economic security, and creating communities of opportunity.
Shauna Curphey provided legal assistance involving cases of police misconduct in Portland as a staff attorney for the Northwest Constitutional Rights Center in Portland, Oregon. Ms. Curphey worked to protect the rights of political activists and provide legal assistance with cases involving police misconduct in Portland. The Northwest Constitutional Rights Center is a non-profit legal and advocacy organization that works to safeguard and extend the civil rights and civil liberties of political activists working in the areas of human rights, animal rights, worker's rights, the environment, women, and people of color.
Heather McGunigle worked for the Disability Rights Center, as their Inland Empire Director serving both the San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Heather's project focused primarily on providing special education outreach, training, and advocacy services as well as strategic litigation. The Disability Rights Center is the oldest cross-disability legal advocacy organization in the country. The Center is located on the campus of Loyola Law School. Their mission is to promote the rights of people with disabilities and the public interest in awareness of those rights by providing legal and related services.
Amy Woo assisted undocumented immigrant and refugee women, who could not obtain legal services and were often victims of domestic violence, as a staff attorney in the domestic violence unit of the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice. The Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice is a non-profit legal services firm that provides free legal representation to indigent residents of East, Southeast and Northeast Los Angeles. The Center provides legal services to low income, disabled and elderly residents regardless of their immigration status.
Blanca Banuelos was a staff attorney in the migrant unit with California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) providing services to the migrant farm worker community. She also provided litigation support on cases filed on behalf of farm workers. CRLA is a statewide non-profit organization providing free legal services to low income clients. CRLA focuses its services in a variety of emphasis areas, including: housing, education, labor, rural health, environmental justice, civil rights, public benefits, community building and economic development.
Phong Sara Wong joined both the Western Center on Law & Poverty, Inc. and Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) with the Access to Justice Project. Ms. Wong's project was designed to assist countless numbers of indigent individuals whose fee waiver applications were erroneously denied of obtaining basic court access. Phong worked to establish a uniform statewide fee waiver application process. The Western Center on Law & Poverty is the state support center for California's many local services. WCLP specializes in high impact class action policy litigation affecting poor persons in California. Cases involve welfare, housing, health, and other areas, including civil rights. LAFLA provides direct legal services to Los Angeles' poorest communities. LAFLA offers a full range of legal services. These services are provided in seven substantive areas of law - Housing, Government Benefits, Family Law, Immigration Rights, Consumer, and Community Economic Development.
An Le worked on developing the Korean Workers Rights and Outreach Project as a staff attorney with Korean Immigrant Workers Advocates (KIWA). Her project served to assist victims of human trafficking and undocumented immigrant workers with wage and hour claims. KIWA is a non-profit organization that fights for economic and social justice by empowering and organizing Korean Immigrant workers.
Anel Flores served as a staff attorney for Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA). Her position was designed to combat various policy issues affecting low-wage workers. LAFLA provides direct legal services to Los Angeles' poorest communities, offering a full range of legal services. These services are provided in seven substantive areas of law - Housing, Government Benefits, Family Law, Immigration Rights, Consumer, and Community Economic Development.
Joanna Fawzy worked as a staff attorney with the Cancer Legal Resource Center developing a nationwide resource directory of legal resources and a Patient Guide on the laws facing those with cancer. The Cancer Legal Resource Center is an on-campus community-based resource program, which provides information and education outreach on legal issues to people with cancer, cancer survivors, care givers, health care providers, and employers.
Minah Park served as an advocate for worker's rights at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC). Ms. Park's project analyzed the intersection between immigration laws and worker's rights. The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) is one of the leading law firms in Southern California dedicated to providing the growing Asian and Pacific Islanders (API) community with multilingual, culturally sensitive, legal services, and civil rights support.
Adalila Garcia worked as the first HEED staff attorney with the National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles Chapter. Adalila assisted HEED's pro bono lawyers in international human and environmental rights. Adalila's project gave the Loyola Post-Graduate Fellowship Program an opportunity to expand into international law and global issues. HEED (Human, Economic and Environmental Defense) was founded in 1996 by the National Lawyer's Guild, Los Angeles Chapter, as a separate Chapter project with the mission of using international law to widen and protect the fundamental human, economic and environmental rights of present and future generations of human beings and the biosphere.
Vanessa Lee worked as a fellow with the Asian Pacific American Legal Center on a project aimed at protecting and improving the rights of Asian and Pacific Islanders with limited-English proficiency through a comprehensive strategy of advocacy, education, research and assessment. The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) is one of the leading organizations in Southern California dedicated to providing the growing Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community with multilingual, culturally sensitive, legal services, education and civil rights support.
Lisa Sergi worked as a Legal Advocate for Catholic Charities in Orange County. She provided educational workshops, training programs, and staff/client consultations in the areas of family law, immigration, domestic violence, and child custody. Catholic Charities is a neighborhood-based social service organization, which partners with the public and private sector to improve the quality of life of people in Orange County by addressing the issues that contribute to poverty and isolation.
Davilena Bailey O'Connor was a Law Fellow with Break the Cycle. Davilena's fellowship duties centered around enhancing the Education and Outreach and Legal Services programs. Break the Cycle is a non-profit organization offering education, intervention and legal services to young people concerning domestic violence related issues.
Sister Sharlet Wagner worked for the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) as the "Detention Project Attorney". The fellowship allowed Sister Wagner to provide pro bono legal services to immigrants who were being detained by the INS and were in deportation proceedings. CARECEN is a public interest organization that provides direct immigration services and assists clients in preparing applications for asylum and suspension of deportation.
Carol Oh' Basile worked as the Executive Director and Founder of the Neighborhood Legal Center providing legal services to low-middle income families in areas of family law and criminal law. Carol's project oversaw all operations of the organization she created through her Loyola Law School public interest fellowship.
Jedidiah Minoff completed his 2-year fellowship with Public Counsel overseeing the Juvenile Court Intervention and Advocacy program by providing legal services for children with mental-health issues and delinquency histories. He also directed the group's legal education outreach and served as a policy advocate. Public Counsel was so pleased with Jedidiah's work that they created a position for him at Public Counsel. He was also named one of the top 20 lawyers under the age of 40 by California Business Law. Public Counsel offers a wide variety of legal services to the poor.
Denise Baez completed her 2-year fellowship with Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLIN). Denise represented minors and women being held in detentions. NILC was so pleased with Denise's work that they created a postion for her to provide immigration legal services to the poor.