Clinical & Experiential Program Newsletter

Winter 2017

UCLA Law's trailblazing Clinical and Experiential Learning Program offers a range of innovative clinics and simulation-based courses in which students gain practical skills under the close supervision of expert faculty. Launched more than 40 years ago, the program continues to provide students exceptional opportunities while benefitting the broader community.

Veterans Legal Clinic Opens at West L.A. VA Facility

A new UCLA Law clinic is offering essential legal assistance to the most vulnerable of the military veterans in Southern California. Located at the Department of Veterans Affairs campus in West Los Angeles, the Veterans Legal Clinic, which opened in August, allows UCLA Law students to help veterans gain access to benefits and address criminal justice issues in order to enhance veterans’ opportunities for jobs, housing and stability. “The clinic provides a rare opportunity for students to sit in the driver’s seat as legal advocates, engaging in problem-solving and direct representation,” says clinic director Sunita Patel. UCLA has made a commitment of $16.5 million over 10 years to provide a variety of new programs and support services at the VA in West L.A.

Lights, Camera, Action: UCLA Law Opens Documentary Film Clinic

Leveraging UCLA Law’s reputation as a top school for entertainment law and its location in the heart of the film industry, the school will launch a Documentary Film Legal Clinic in the Spring 2018 semester. Students will gain insight into the industry while working with documentary filmmakers on matters such as making public records requests; obtaining copyright clearances; drafting agreements to secure content or talent participation; and navigating intellectual property and First Amendment issues. Dale Cohen, special counsel to the PBS documentary series Frontline and co-author of one of the field’s preeminent texts, Media and the Law, will direct the clinic, which is part of UCLA Law’s Ziffren Center for Media, Entertainment, Technology and Sports Law.

Real Law: 1Ls Gain Experience in Lawyer-Client Relationship Class

UCLA Law puts the emphasis on practical training with its first-year Lawyer-Client Relationship Course, in which 1Ls gain valuable instruction on interviewing clients, lawyer-client confidentiality obligations and much more. Students then work directly with clients of legal organizations around Los Angeles under the supervision of experienced attorneys. “The first-year Lawyer-Client Relationship course took me beyond the typical 1L curriculum and into a realm where I was actually gaining the skills to work as a lawyer. With the support of my instructors, I gained a rewarding summer opportunity with a public interest law organization in L.A., where I engaged with clients and did policy work.” — Luis Vasquez, Class of 2019

Allison Korn Named Assisant Dean for Experiential Education

Allison Korn has been named UCLA Law’s Assistant Dean for Experiential Education, overseeing the school's robust skills curriculum, live-client clinics and externship program. A seasoned advocate with deep roots in clinical and public interest programs, Korn joined UCLA Law as the clinical director for the Resnick Program on Food Law and Policy at UCLA Law in 2016. Before joining UCLA Law, she was a fellow at the University of Baltimore School of Law, where she co-taught the Family Law Clinic and supervised students in their direct representation of clients and in advocacy work before the Maryland state legislature. Prior to that, she taught at the University of Mississippi School of Law. At UCLA Law, Korn coordinates a wide range of clinical and experiential programs, involving nearly 80 instructors and professors.

Supreme Court Clinic Takes 7 Cases to High Court in 3 Years

The Supreme Court Clinic took two cases to the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2016-17 term and won both. Another case, Murphy v. Smith, which centers on the attorney's fees for prisoners who win civil rights suits, went before the justices in December 2017, with clinic director Stuart Banner delivering oral argument. In all, seven of the clinic's cases have gone to the high court in the last three terms. Under the direction of Banner, UCLA Law's Norman Abrams Professor of Law, students in the clinic research and write briefs and petitions for or against certiorari. The clinic represents clients and counsel who otherwise would not have the resources to pursue cases before the court. Past cases have involved criminal law, immigration law, First Amendment and trademark claims, including the 2017 landmark Matal v. Tam.

Bannister Clinic Students Argue Before Federal Appeals Judges

Two UCLA Law students did something this year that most lawyers will not do in their lifetimes: argue a case before a federal court of appeals. Through the Scott and Cyan Banister First Amendment Clinic, Elizabeth Arias ’17 and Ashford Kneitel ’18 presented oral argument before the Ninth and Eighth Circuits, respectively. Under the direction of Eugene Volokh, UCLA Law’s Gary T. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Law, the five-year-old clinic has filed friend-of-the-court briefs in more than 50 cases on behalf of third parties with keen interests in First Amendment issues. On occasion, counsel working with the clinic will agree to cede some of their argument time to UCLA Law students. Arias (at right, with Volokh), who graduated from UCLA Law in May, was preparing for the bar exam even as she honed her argument in French v. Jones. “The experience was amazing,” she said. “I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity and am so grateful to everyone who helped make it happen.”

Promise Institute's First Clinical Class to Go to Honduras

Launched with a $20 million gift in April 2017, the Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA Law is leaping into its first academic year with an array of classes, clinics and guest lectures. In the institute's first foreign foray, UCLA Law Clinical Project Director Joseph Berra will lead students to Honduras in January to do work on behalf of indigenous people adversely affected by the 2009 government coup. Dr. Eric Esrailian, the lead producer of the feature film The Promise and the Armenian genocide documentary Intent to Destroy, and a faculty member at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, spearheaded the effort to establish the Promise Institute. The school is thrilled to have named professor Asli Bâli the institute's first faculty director. UCLA Law is conducting a search for the institute's first executive director.

Students Travel to Denver for National Unbundling Conference

In October 2017, students Sarah Fisher ’18, Levon Kalanjian ’18 and Maria Lu ’18 traveled to Denver with adjunct professor Forrest S. Mosten to attend the National Unbundling Conference. Put on by the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, the summit brought together top scholars of legal practice to discuss unbundling, or limited representation of clients who prefer to mostly represent themselves or who cannot afford full legal representation. Mosten, an expert in family law and mediation, delivered the keynote. Fisher, Kalanjian and Lu are enrolled in his experiential course, Family Law Practice: A Non-Litigation Approach, where they learn the ins and outs of negotiation and cutting-edge approaches toward legal representation. Later, they produced detailed papers in response to the conference and suggested ways in which unbundling may be included in legal education.




UCLA Law Magazine Fall 2017

Three New Clinical Faculty Members Join UCLA Law in 2017

Dale Cohen is the director of the new Documentary Film Legal Clinic. Co-author of one of the field’s preeminent texts, Media and the Law, Cohen's extensive experience includes his current position as special counsel to the PBS series Frontline, as well as past representation of organizationsincluding the Tribune Company, Cox Media Group and Radio Free Europe.

Sunita Patel joins UCLA Law as assistant professor and the inaugural faculty director of the Veterans Legal Clinic. An experienced public interest litigator, Patel held clinical teaching positions with the Civil Advocacy Clinic at American University Washington College of Law and led litigation on behalf of the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Legal Aid Society of New York.

The co-director of the Veterans Legal Clinic is Will Watts, a former DLA Piper partner who focused on real estate matters. A former Los Angeles County Commissioner appointed by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Watts most recently worked at Public Counsel in Los Angeles, where he directed the Homelessness Prevention Law Project.