“It is wonderful to have you here for this special event today,” said Michael Waterstone, Dean of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles to an audience of educators and public officials on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 on Loyola’s downtown L.A. campus. “It’s my honor as Dean of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles to welcome you to the opening of Loyola’s Social Justice Legal Clinic.”

The unveiling centered around the aggregation of Loyola’s criminal defense, immigration, post-conviction relief and other legal clinics in a newly renovated space designed like a law firm to provide shared services to students, community members, clients and attorneys.

In addition to celebrating the opening of the Social Justice Law Clinic, the event announced the inauguration of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction Justice Project, a partnership with Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office of Reentry. “It’s always been a joy for me to do anything with Loyola,” said Mayor Garcetti, “because of your social justice excellence and the way you have always committed to creating a city-full and world-full of doers when it comes to social and economic justice.”

As the newest clinic, the CCCJP expungement program is charged with helping clients reclaim their lives after incarceration. Loyola Law School student Teresa Mayer serves as an advocate representing clients seeking to clean their records for employment, immigration, child support and professional licensing.

“We meet with clients, interview them and help them with their forms,” said Mayer. “There is also a component when you can go to court, the clinic offers you the opportunity to become pre-bar certified. I was able to go to court twice with Elie Miller, staff attorney.”

Loyola Law School alumnus Sean Kennedy, ’89, the Kaplan and Feldman Executive Director of the Loyola Center for Juvenile Law & Policy, helps administer the project.  “Loyola is a law school founded to achieve social justice,” explained Kennedy. “Every student who graduates knows they have a responsibility to use their law degree to help underserved communities.”

Providing legal services to underserved communities is what attracted Tom Rothman, Chairman, Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Pictures Group, to Mayor Garcetti’s reentry program and Loyola’s Social Justice Legal Clinic.

“Sony is very proud to support this initiative because we’re a community member the same way any industry is,” said Rothman. “We’re a big employer in this city and the quality and opportunity for the work force is a direct corollary to the success that we can have.”

Los Angeles resident and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient Gilberto, has already been helped by LSJLC. “Unfortunately, I don’t come from the background that can afford the attorney fees and immigration fees. Loyola has helped me a lot.”

Loyola Social Justice Law Clinic Grand Opening and inauguration of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction Justice Project (CCCJP) Photo Credit: Brian Costello, Loyola Marymount University

Loyola Social Justice Law Clinic Grand Opening and inauguration of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction Justice Project (CCCJP) Photo Credit: Kim Fox, Loyola Law School

At the close of the afternoon festivities, Los Angeles Deputy Mayor and Loyola Law School alumni Brenda Shockley, ’71, provided her perspective on the significance of the Social Justice Legal Clinic. “It engages the next generation of lawyers, lawyers that are committed and have learned the understanding of public interest,” explained Shockley. “They’re working with these clients on behalf of the clients but also for all of us as part of the public interest.”

Appearing on the home page: Pictured, from left: Kimberley Guillemet, Director, Officer of Reentry, Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity; Brenda Shockley, Deputy Mayor for Economic Opportunity; Sean Kennedy, Kaplan & Feldman Executive Director, Loyola’s Center for Juvenile Law & Policy; Tom Rothman, chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group and supporter; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; Loyola Marymount University President Timothy Law Snyder; Loyola Law School Dean Michael Waterstone; and Elie Miller, supervising attorney, Collateral Consequences of Conviction Justice Project.