Public Interest: Loyola Trains Attorneys for Others
LMU Loyola Law School has a longstanding commitment to public interest law. It was the first ABA-accredited school in California to institute a pro bono service requirement. Students are required to provide 40 hours of pro bono service to graduate but routinely go substantially beyond the requirement, annually donating more than 60,000 hours of pro bono service. A robust Public Interest Department helps guide students among a range of pro bono options. The office funds public interest scholarships, summer public interest grants and post-graduate public interest fellowships. Loyola offers a Public Interest Law Concentration with a dedicated adviser and a wealth of experiential opportunities. Graduates of the program receive a certificate noting their distinction.
Loyola is home to numerous clinics and centers that provide students experience in public interest law. They include:
Since its first clinical class in 2013, the Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic has grown to include 20 student advocates annually. Almost 50 students have participated in the program and have assisted the clinic in conducting more than 7,000 client consultations.
The only community-based immigration clinic operating in the country, the clinic’s students help members of the indigent noncitizen community find immigration relief. Their myriad successes include securing asylum for a 22-year-old individual facing persecution based on her sexuality; special immigrant juvenile status and a green card for a high school student abused and abandoned as a child and intent on pursuing a college education; a U-visa for a young mother of four who entered the U.S. as a child and long suffered in an abusive relationship; legal permanent residency for an undocumented mother of two, enabling her to legally obtain employment; and cancellation of removal in court for a long time permanent resident who has resided in the U.S. since the age of six months.
The clinic is especially busy this election year, helping hundreds of immigrants establish citizenship in time to vote in the presidential election. Additionally, the clinic is an active member of ¡Protégete! ¡Ciudadanía Ya!, a community-based campaign to educate and motivate eligible legal permanent residents in Los Angeles County to apply for citizenship.
Alumnae Marissa Montes and Emily Robinson formed the clinic as their Loyola post-graduate public interest fellowships, which are also funding the position of staff attorney Alejandro Barajas, a 2015 alumnus.
The Loyola Law School Center For Conflict Resolution provides mediation, conciliation and facilitation services to communities throughout Los Angeles County. The center recently began providing Dependency Court mediation. In that program, Loyola students assist professional mediators, helping parents in Dependency Court decide their own custody arrangement and visitation schedule. The agreements, when confirmed by the court, may serve as the exit order from Dependency Court.
In the Collaborative Divorce Mediation Clinic, students pair with attorneys representing parties in mediation. They assist attorneys in the initial client intake and complete court forms, including family law judgments. The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors recognized the program with the Outstanding Project Award for its dedication toward the resolution of a dispute.
All center students complete 25 hours of mediation training that satisfies the Dispute Resolutions Program Act. In the last year, students contributed 2,300 hours of pro bono legal services to the community.
The Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution's Collaborative Law Clinic (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.
Loyola's Consumer Bankruptcy Clinic offers law students a unique opportunity to work directly with clients in need. Working with attorneys from the nonprofit law firm Public Counsel, students staff the Bankruptcy Self-Help Desk in Downtown Los Angeles, where they gain valuable experience interviewing clients and preparing pleadings in a fast-paced environment—regardless of whether they plan to practice bankruptcy law. Students also have an opportunity to develop public speaking skills by presenting portions of workshops that teach self-represented litigants how to file for bankruptcy protection. At the end of the semester, students argue a motion in front of a bankruptcy judge at a mock hearing held at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
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.
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.
The purpose of the Fashion Law Clinic is to provide students with "hands-on" training in the areas of fashion law that will most likely be encountered by junior lawyers. The clinic will pair the enrolled students with fashion students/entrepreneurs from Los Angeles' various fashion colleges and/or launch pads, so that Loyola's students are the lawyers and the fashion students will be the client. This class will take several topics covered in Fashion Law, provide a deeper understanding of those areas of law, and allow the students to use the knowledge in a practical way. This clinic will also help build connections between Loyola and the fashion community and allow Loyola's students to meet, understand, and assist fashion students, who, hopefully, will one day be future clients.
The Fashion Law Clinic
Students in the Federal Public Defender Death Penalty Clinic work with the Federal Public Defender's Capital Habeas Unit (FPD) to represent individuals who have been convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death by the State of California, and who are challenging their convictions and sentences in federal court in order to get a new trial. This clinic provides students with an opportunity to develop a well-rounded set of skills and learn diverse areas of law in one semester.
During the semester students are assigned to a capital habeas case. But before they begin working on it, they receive a week's worth of training, to teach them about the "nuts and bolts" of capital habeas litigation. In order to obtain a new trial for her capital habeas client, a capital habeas lawyer must demonstrate that her client's conviction or sentence is unconstitutional. This requires the lawyer to be well-versed in California criminal law, state and federal procedural law, and federal constitutional law. During the first week of the clinic, deputy federal public defenders ensure that clinical students gain an understanding of these areas of law, as well as the typical timeline of a capital habeas case and the difficulties capital habeas lawyers encounter when trying to obtain relief for their clients.
Rooted in the Law School's values and tradition of social justice, academic freedom, personal integrity and professional ethics, the overarching mission of the International Human Rights Center at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles ("IHRC" or "center") 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.
The Juvenile Innocence & Fair Sentencing Clinic 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.
The Juvenile Justice Clinic 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 holistic representation.
The Shriver 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.
The Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic (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.
Loyola offers third-year day students and fourth-year evening students interested in appellate advocacy the opportunity to participate in the Ninth Circuit Appellate Clinic. 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.
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.
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 Youth Justice Education Clinic, 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 Law School’s Project for the Innocent (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.
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 Collateral Consequences of Conviction Justice Project. 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.
Offered Spring 2018. More information coming soon. In the meantime, please see the webpage for the Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution.
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, practice the skills to mediate, represent your own clients, and draft lawful settlements. For more information, please contact Professor David Geffen.
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.