Clinical Program Newsletter

Fall 2014

Reshaping the Curriculum

UCLA Law’s Innovative Reforms Connect Classroom and Clinic

Against a backdrop of unprecedented changes in the legal landscape and a long tradition of innovation in legal education, UCLA School of Law is boldly reshaping its curriculum. The UCLA Law faculty undertook a comprehensive review of the first-year curriculum and many aspects of the upper-division program and has adopted an ambitious set of changes. These reforms will redefine the balance between traditional doctrinal offerings and the development of key skills to help prepare a new generation of lawyers facing the challenges and opportunities of a fast-evolving profession.

Read the entire article.

Luz Herrera Named Assistant Dean for Clinical Education, Experiential Learning and Public Service

To help in instituting some of the curricular changes, Luz Herrera has joined UCLA School of Law as Assistant Dean for Clinical Education, Experiential Learning and Public Service. She is an attorney and a community innovator who has taught in the clinical programs at Harvard Law School, Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the University of California, Irvine School of Law. She has established a national reputation in the clinical community for her work in advancing entrepreneurial opportunities for law students and new lawyers. Assistant Dean Herrera will be instrumental in implementing the faculty's curricular innovations to promote experiential learning.

Lisa Mead Named Director of Externship Programs

Lisa Mead is another new member of the clinical program team. She joined UCLA Law as the new Director of Externships and Field Placements. In addition to her work on field placements, she is also tasked with implementing a first-year experiential learning experience. Professor Mead joins the law school from the Inner City Law Center, where she served as a member of the senior management team and as the director of pro bono work, overseeing all pro bono, volunteer programs and special initiatives. Prior to joining Inner City Law Center, she spent 15 years at USC Gould School of Law, where she served as dean of students, was the assistant dean of career services and founded the law school’s Office of Public Service.

E. Tendayi Achiume Named Assistant Professor of Law

Tendayi Achiume, the second recipient of UCLA Law’s Binder Clinical Teaching Fellowship, is now joining the UCLA Law faculty as assistant professor of law. Her research and teaching interests lie in international human rights law, international refugee law, comparative immigration law, international criminal justice and property. As the Binder Clinical Teaching Fellow, she taught the International Human Rights Clinic, co-taught in the Asylum Clinic and the International Justice Clinic, and was the founding faculty supervisor for the UCLA School of Law International Justice Project.

Professor Blasi Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Gary Blasi, professor of law emeritus, was honored with the Access to Justice Lifetime Achievement Award by the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. He was chosen for the honor for his significant work in increasing access to the legal system and his long-term commitment to extending legal services to the underrepresented. He was presented with the award in December at the organization’s 15th Annual Access to Justice Dinner.



UCLA Law Launches Patent and Trademark Clinics

UCLA School of Law was one of 19 law schools recently selected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to join the USPTO’s Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program. The law school launched both the Patent Law and Trademark Law clinics this fall. The UCLA Patent and Trademark Law Clinics enable law students to gain real-world experience practicing patent and trademark law before the USPTO under the guidance of an experienced clinical faculty supervisor. UCLA Law is the only law school in the greater Los Angeles area that offers free legal services for clients to file patent and trademark applications.

Clinic to Address Gender Violence in Eastern Congo

In January 2014, UCLA Law launched the Sanela Diana Jenkins Clinic on Gender Violence in Eastern Congo. Under the direction of Professor Richard Steinberg, the clinic formed an NGO in the Democratic Republic of Congo – Restore the Villages Project – to carry out and assess the impact of five forms of intervention (medical, therapeutic, economic, judicial and spiritual) in villages that have suffered mass rape. Prior to travelling to the region, students participating in the clinic learned about the phenomenon of mass rape in Africa and its effects on victims and their families, as well as the social, economic and political impact on the targeted villages. In addition, five clinic students traveled to the Eastern Congo with Professor Steinberg and Jessica Peake, Director of the International and Comparative Law Program, to observe the first round of interventions and to interview those affected by mass rape.

Clinic Work Focuses on Arbitrary Detention and Jail Violence in Los Angeles

UCLA School of Law’s International Human Rights Clinic worked on projects to address human rights issues in the United States. The clinic’s work led to filings with international tribunals to redress U.S. human rights abuses as well as an analysis of possible models of civilian oversight to combat human rights violations in Los Angeles county jails. After rigorous client interviews and legal research, students of the International Human Rights Clinic filed petitions in April before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of four brothers who were detained in the United States for more than 40 months after the September 11th attacks. Clinic students also represented a community-based coalition of citizen advocates seeking to reform the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and its handling of complaints of misconduct by deputies in the county jails.

Civil Rights Litigation Clinic Assists Port Truck Drivers in Labor Dispute

UCLA Law’s Civil Rights Litigation Clinic worked with the ACLU of Southern California, Public Counsel and other organizations on a case resulting in a landmark ruling that the state of California bears responsibility for ensuring that English language learners receive services. Read more about the case, D.J. vs. State of California. Clinic students also worked with Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the Wage Justice Center to represent port truck drivers claiming wage theft and other labor violations. A number of port truck drivers filed a class action lawsuit, Talavera v. QTS, Inc., in Los Angeles Superior Court in February 2013 to recover wages from their employers, who allegedly misclassified them as independent contractors in order to evade labor and employment laws. In February 2014, the drivers and their legal team, including UCLA Law Clinical Teaching Fellow Sanjukta Paul, who directed clinic student work on the case, went to court to challenge the defendants’ retaliation against workers who participated in the case. Read more about the case.

Students Brief Senate Ocean Caucus in Washington, D.C.

In December, Thomas Oh ’14 and Jaimini Parekh ’15, students in the Frank G. Wells Environmental Law Clinic, traveled to Washington, D.C. with Emmett/Frankel Fellow Megan Herzog to speak at a briefing on plastic marine pollution. Oh and Parekh provided an overview of the problem of plastic trash in the marine environment and presented a menu of federal law and policy solutions, based on their semester-long research for clinic client Surfrider Foundation. Following the briefing, the students joined Surfrider Foundation's legal director in follow-up visits to several senators' offices to discuss the details of their proposed federal actions to reduce the production and improper disposal of heavily littered plastic items.

Clinic Represents Nonprofit Housing Developer

Students in the Real Estate Law Clinic represented nonprofit housing developer Step Up on Second, Inc. in the development of an affordable housing complex in Santa Monica, California. The clinic assisted Step Up, which provides permanent supportive housing to adults affected by mental illness, with the purchase of a parcel of land for the development, construction financing, permanent financing and title due diligence, among other processes. The students were recently invited to see the fruits of their labor at a groundbreaking ceremony for Step Up’s Santa Monica development.