Clinical Program Newsletter

Fall 2013

Clinically Proven

An excerpt of the Fall 2013 UCLA Law Magazine feature article

Since pioneering clinical legal education more than 40 years ago, UCLA School of Law’s Clinical Program has blazed an outstanding path of innovation and excellence. Providing students with high-quality, hands-on training to bridge the gap between what goes on in the classroom and what skills are needed in “real-world” practice has been a hallmark of the law school’s clinical program since its establishment in 1970. Under the direction of Professor David Binder and the law school’s superlative clinical faculty members, UCLA Law’s clinics were among the first in the nation to systematically link theory and practical skills.

Today, the law school’s commitment to integrating theory and practice continues with an array of clinical offerings that cover a wide range of topics, from negotiating business contracts to drafting briefs for Supreme Court cases and representing clients at trial. Building on a strong and innovative foundation, the program will continue to expand over the next decade. The stewards of this expansion are a new generation of faculty leaders who are bringing clinical education into areas of the legal profession that have long remained outside the scope of hands-on training.

Please click here to read the entire feature article.

Medical-Legal Partnership Clinical Program

A two-year grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation will establish the innovative Medical-Legal Partnership Clinical Program at UCLA Law—a collaboration with St. Francis and St. Vincent Medical Centers, members of the Daughters of Charity Health System, and Bet Tzedek Legal Services to expand legal services in health care settings for low-income community members in downtown and southeast Los Angeles. The new partnership project will combine traditional legal services and policy research to help alleviate unmet legal needs that stem from, and worsen, persistent poverty and its associated health effects. Through both classroom and onsite clinical components, UCLA Law students will work to address concerns—ranging from substandard housing and education, to health care access and issues of guardianship—that can have a dramatic impact on health and wellbeing.

Please click here to read more about the program.

Training Environmental Advocates

In spring 2013, Grace Hwang ’14 and Brian Cardile ’14, students in the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic, were assigned to help restore public access to national forest land north of Santa Barbara. In collaboration with Los Padres Forest Watch (LPFW), they worked on a project to establish a prescriptive-rights easement on Husana Road, an artery leading into the national forest that crosses through private property. Under the supervision of clinical professors Sean Hecht and Cara Horowitz, and partners at LPFW, Hwang and Cardile collected statements from more than a dozen locals who had used the road before the fences were erected. They also tracked instances of confrontations between property owners and locals accustomed to using the road. In March, the San Luis Obispo Tribune profiled their work.

More New Clinics for Fall 2013

Under the direction of Professor Eugene Volokh, one of the nation’s leading constitutional law scholars, UCLA School of Law has launched the First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic. Students will gain real world experience drafting and filing friend-of-the-court briefs in state and federal courts, on behalf of nonprofit organizations (such as ACLU chapters or similar groups, whether liberal, conservative or libertarian) and academic groups. The briefs will cover a wide range of free speech and religious freedom questions, both under the First Amendment and under related statutes (such as anti-SLAPP laws).

The new Youth & Justice Clinic, led by Professor Jyoti Nanda, an expert on youth and the criminal justice system, examines the role of the lawyer in the juvenile justice process. Students in the year-long course will work in teams representing detained youth on civil legal issues in cooperation with attorneys and nonprofit organizations—specifically with Mental Health Advocates of Los Angeles. The class provides opportunities, through simulation and work on real cases, to develop skills in client interviewing and counseling, case preparation, interviewing experts, motion/brief writing, policy briefing and institutional advocacy.

Professor Blasi to Receive Loren Miller Legal Services Award

Gary Blasi, professor of law emeritus, will be honored with the State Bar of California’s Loren Miller Legal Services Award, which is considered a lifetime achievement award, for his significant work in increasing access to the legal system and his long-term commitment to extending legal services to the under-represented. He will be presented with the award at a reception in October 2013 during the State Bar Annual Meeting in San Jose, California.

Read more about Professor Blasi’s work in the September 2013 California Bar Journal.

Meet the UCLA Clinical Teaching Fellows

This fall, three impressive new fellows, Irene Oritseweyinmi Joe, Sanjukta Paul and Brandon Weiss, joined E. Tendayi Achiume as fellows in the UCLA School of Law Clinical Program. The program’s fellows spend one to two academic years at the law school teaching, conducting research and writing in preparation for careers in law teaching and scholarship.

E. Tendayi Achiume, the second recipient of the Binder Clinical Teaching Fellowship, received her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she served as managing editor of submissions for the Yale Journal of International Law and was awarded the Howard M. Holtzmann Fellowship in International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution. After law school, she was a Fox International Fellow at the University of Cape Town and she worked as a law clerk to Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke and Justice Mokgoro on the Constitutional Court of South Africa. After her clerkship, Yale Law School awarded her the Bernstein International Human Rights Fellowship to work on refugee and migrant rights in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her scholarship interrogates how international law and norms, and transnational legal processes, shape domestic equality outcomes.

Irene Oritseweyinmi Joe earned her J.D. from Stanford University School of Law (with Pro Bono Distinction), where she was president of the Black Law Students Association and lead articles editor of the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Upon graduation, she served as a fellow for the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama, where she represented indigent defendants in capital post-conviction litigation. Prior to joining UCLA Law, she served as assistant training director with the Louisiana Public Defender Board.

Sanjukta Paul has spent the majority of her 10 years in practice as a litigator in the areas of employment law and civil rights, first at the firm Hadsell & Stormer and then as a solo practitioner.  She has served as lead counsel or co-lead counsel on several successful litigation and arbitration matters on behalf of workers, union members and community organizations. She also recently spent substantial time advising and working with a labor organizing campaign on employment law issues. She earned her J.D. degree from Yale Law School and clerked on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Brandon Weiss graduated from Harvard Law School with honors, where he was co-editor in chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal and a student advocate with the Harvard Tenant Advocacy Project. He practiced law at Bocarsly Emden Cowan Esmail & Arndt LLP, and previously designed and implemented a project to preserve the affordability of at-risk subsidized housing in Los Angeles as a Skadden and Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow. In collaboration with the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy, he will engage in teaching and research related to community economic development, housing policy and public interest law.

UCLA Law Honors Clinical “Pioneers”

During a one-day conference in October 2012, UCLA Law paid tribute to the founding faculty members who have made UCLA School of Law’s Clinical Program one of the most influential in the nation. Former students, UCLA colleagues, scholars and practitioners working in the field gathered to honor Professors David Binder, Paul Bergman, Al Moore, Gary Blasi and Sue Gillig. Participants shared personal stories of their experience being taught by, hired by or working alongside these legendary and dedicated faculty members, and spoke about how they have been influenced and impacted by them. The event also included a talk in remembrance of former UCLA Law Professor Paul Boland and a keynote lunchtime talk by former law school dean Susan Westerberg Prager.