Public Interest: Loyola Trains Attorneys for Others
Loyola Law School, Los Angeles 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.