Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Five Years in the Community Justice Clinic

We just wrapped the final class for the Spring 2019 iteration of the Community Justice Clinic. At the close of its fifth year, I’m feeling reflective, maudlin, and proud. 

I joined the law faculty at Pepperdine in July 2013, took a year to take the bar and get a California license. For Fall 2014, I had the rare gift of launching a new clinic from scratch. I had thirteen years of experience in civil litigation, trial, and appellate practice in various forms and venues, and I was ready for a change. Through our curricular processes, we saw a need for a clinic that was not seated in litigation and for a practice that was not focused on advocacy for individuals. This process resulted in the Community Justice Clinic.

The Community Justice Clinic was an exciting departure for me professionally. The Clinic serves as general counsel for nonprofits, NGOs, religious and community organizations that are dedicated to human rights, social justice, and community economic development. We focus on clients who are part of the communities they empower or who have deeply rooted, cultural sophistication and humility among the people they serve. Our Clinic provides corporate legal services (incorporation, governance, tax exemption), policy and legal research and advocacy (studies, surveys, and projects in the field), and general legal services (leases, contracts, IP, internal policies, problem solving).

Most of our clients are at work in Southern California, but several are national. At least a third of our clients are NGOs at work globally. Our work with our clients have touched communities in Ecuador, Uganda, India, Nepal, Rwanda, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nicaragua, Germany, China, and the United Kingdom, so far. Our policy research has addressed another dozen nations.

As clinical professors, our greatest gift is practicing law alongside brilliant, eager, creative students. They make me a better lawyer and better teacher. At the launch of the Community Justice Clinic, I started a tradition to build a monument to the students who would join this work. Being new to the West Coast and excited about our prospects, I bought a California state flag and asked the students to sign it. I confessed to them (and all the rest to come) that it might be corny and sentimental, but I wanted to mark our commitment to our community, to build a reminder of their work and our collaboration together. I wanted to remember them, and I wanted them to remember this work, these clients, their causes, and their profound power in the world as lawyers. In their moments of professional crisis, I wanted the students to be able to spot a symbol that reminds them of their commitments and capacity.

Here is the flag tonight, bearing the signatures of students across five years and ten semesters, nearly a hundred students in the Community Justice Clinic. They have served at least fifty clients on multiple matters around the world and in our neighborhood. The flag also bears the signatures of twenty more students who served several score clients in the Disaster Relief Clinic. 

I’m proud to be their teacher and to practice law with them, playing a small role in their education and helping launch them into the world to serve and lead. They have done mighty work to empower our clients to make the world better.  I'll post an update in Spring 2024.

Flag. 4.17.19 (Five Years of CJC) jrb

April 17, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Petition to Establish AALS Community Economic Development Section

Over the past year, a critical mass of law school faculty and staff have expressed interest in establishing an AALS Section on Community Economic Development (CED). The proposed section will provide a dynamic, collaborative environment to enhance the scholarship, activism, and direct legal work of CED-focused faculty and professional staff. Notably, the section will help bridge existing gaps between various actors in the CED universe by increasing opportunities for networking and enabling greater synergy and collaboration between scholars and experts in various substantive subjects and disciplines related to CED. Interested faculty and professional staff are invited to read the full petition and sign here

April 16, 2019 in Clinic News, Community Organizing, Housing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 8, 2019

JOBS: Pepperdine Disaster Recovery Clinic: Supervising Attorney and Adjunct Professor

With generous funding from the Malibu Foundation, Pepperdine Law is continuing its Disaster Relief Clinic - soon to the Disaster Recovery Clinic - for one academic year to assist people and communities rebuilding after the Woolsey Fire in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.  This position is a one-year, grant-funded position to supervise and teach the Disaster Recovery Clinic within the School of Law's Program of Clinical Education, working alongside the faculty and staff of Pepperdine's ten other legal clinics. 

Interested candidates should apply at this site.

The Supervising Attorney and Adjunct Professor (“Supervising Attorney”) will teach and supervise students practicing in the Pepperdine Disaster Recovery Clinic (“DRC”). In the DRC, law students learn and train through law practice under the supervision of the Supervising Attorney. The DRC provides pro bono legal services to clients recovering from recent California wildfires. This includes advice and counsel, evaluation and analysis, negotiation and advocacy, research and writing, and guidance on legal matters as they arise and evolve during the course of recovery and rebuilding. The Supervising Attorney will teach the seminar component of the DRC course with an adjunct faculty appointment. This contributes to the University’s mission by increasing the School of Law’s capacity to teach, train and form professionals with expertise and integrity, and the DRC increases the School of Law’s capacity to serve surrounding communities affected by recent natural disasters. This serves the School of Law’s strategic plan by increasing capacity for experiential, clinical and formative education in diverse areas of practice. The Supervising Attorney position is a one-year, grant funded appointment to direct the Disaster Recovery Clinic. 


Skills and Qualifications

Required: The Supervising Attorney must hold a JD degree from an ABA accredited law school, and must be a licensed attorney in good standing in California; an excellent communicator in written and oral, private and public contexts; a competent professional of integrity and excellence; an effective teacher within best practices of clinical legal pedagogy; and proficient and competent in digital law practice and case management and applications for recovery practice.

Preferred: Preferred candidates will have demonstrable experience or expertise in insurance coverage and controversies, landlord-tenant matters, business interruption, unemployment, rebuilding, and permitting matters; demonstrable experience, interest and expertise in public interest practice; and demonstrable experience, expertise, and commitment to teaching and clinical pedagogy.

April 8, 2019 in Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Call for Authors: Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Property Opinions

Via Profs. Eloisa C. Rodriguez-Dod and Elena Maria Marty-Nelson:


Call for Authors - Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Property Opinions


Deadline for Applying: Friday, April 26, 2019


The U.S. Feminist Judgments Project seeks contributors of rewritten judicial opinions and commentary on the rewritten opinions for an edited collection tentatively titled Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Property Opinions. This edited volume is part of a collaborative project among law professors and others to rewrite, from a feminist perspective, key judicial decisions in the United States. The initial volume, Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court, edited by Kathryn M. Stanchi, Linda L. Berger, and Bridget J. Crawford, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016. Cambridge University Press has approved a series of Feminist Judgments books. In 2017, Cambridge University Press published the tax volume titled Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions. Other volumes in the pipeline include rewritten trusts and estates opinions and rewritten family law opinions.


Property law volume editors Eloisa C. Rodriguez-Dod and Elena Maria Marty-Nelson seek prospective authors and commentators for fifteen rewritten property opinions covering a range of topics. With the help of an advisory board of distinguished property law scholars, the editors have selected a list of cases that have not appeared in other Feminist Judgment volumes; potential authors are welcome to suggest opinions which do not appear on the list.


Proposals must be either to (1) rewrite a case opinion (subject to a 10,000-word limit) or (2) comment on a rewritten opinion (subject to a 4,000-word limit). Rewritten opinions may be re-imagined majority opinions, concurrences, or dissents. Authors of rewritten opinions will be bound by the law and precedent in effect at the time of the original decision. Commentators should explain the original court decision, how the rewritten feminist opinion differs from the original decision, and the impact the rewritten feminist opinion might have made. The volume editors conceive of feminism as a broad movement and welcome proposals that bring into focus intersectional concerns beyond gender, such as race, class, disability, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, national origin, and immigration status.


To apply, please email (1) a paragraph or two describing your area of expertise and your interest in this project; (2) your top two or three preferences from the list of cases below; and (3) whether you prefer to serve as an author of a rewritten opinion or an author of a commentary to a rewritten opinion. Please submit this information via email to the editors, Eloisa C. Rodriguez-Dod and Elena Maria Marty-Nelson, at [email protected] and [email protected] by Friday, April 26, 2019. The Feminist Judgments Project and the Property book editors are committed to including authors from diverse backgrounds. If you feel an aspect of your personal identity is important to your participation, please feel free to include that in your expression of interest. The editors will notify accepted authors and commentators by Monday, May 13, 2019. First drafts of rewritten opinions will be due on Monday, September 16, 2019. First drafts of commentaries will be due on Monday, October 28, 2019.


Tentative List of Cases:


  1. Moore v. City of E. Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494 (1977) (exclusionary zoning)
  2. Ass’n for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., 569 U.S. 576 (2013) (patents)
  3. Sawada v. Endo, 561 P.2d 1291 (Haw. 1977) (tenancy by the entireties)
  4. Gruen v. Gruen, 496 N.E.2d 869 (N.Y. 1986) (inter vivos gifts)
  5. Coggan v. Coggan, 239 So. 2d 17 (Fla. 1970) (ouster of co-tenant)
  6. Phillips Neighborhood Hous. Tr. v. Brown, 564 N.W.2d 573 (Minn. Ct. App. 1997) (lease termination for illegal activity)
  7. Taylor v. Canterbury, 92 P.3d 961 (Colo. 2004) (secret severance of joint tenancy)
  8. White v. Samsung Elecs. Am., Inc., 971 F.2d 1395 (9th Cir. 1992) (publicity rights)
  9. Johnson v. M’Intosh, 21 U.S. 543 (1823) (Native American property rights)
  10. Dolan v. City of Tigard, 512 U.S. 374 (1994) (exactions/eminent domain)
  11. Bartley v. Sweetser, 890 S.W.2d 250 (Ark. 1994) (premises liability)
  12. Tate v. Water Works & Sewer Bd. of City of Oxford, 217 So. 3d 906 (Ala. Civ. App. 2016) (adverse possession and condemnation)
  13. Blake v. Stradford, 725 N.Y.S.2d 189 (Dist. Ct. 2001) (ejectment of domestic partner)
  14. Moore v. Regents of Univ. of California, 793 P.2d 479 (Cal. 1990) (property interest in one’s genetic material)
  15. Pocono Springs Civic Ass’n, Inc. v. MacKenzie, 667 A.2d 233 (Pa. Super. Ct.1995) (abandonment of real property)


April 4, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 1, 2019

CLEA: Launching a New Initiative to Spotlight and Amplify the Work of Law School Clinics for Social Justice

From CLEA and its Social Justice Issues Committee, a post by co-chair Prof. Derrick Howard:

If you stop random people on the street to ask how they define social justice, you are likely to receive varying responses that collectively reflect social justice is equal access to wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.  Within those broad parameters, social justice relates to the environment, race, gender, sustainable development goals, responses to humanitarian crisis, and other causes and manifestations of inequality. Digging deeper to further define this concept may also reveal that the victims of social injustice are everywhere, including our neighborhoods, our communities, and even our classrooms.  Victims of social injustice frequently include the poor, but also encompass individuals and groups who are socially, economically, culturally, politically, institutionally or otherwise discriminated against.


Many law students attend law school with the intention of learning how they can use their knowledge and skills to assist marginalized groups and individuals, change current oppressive political and economic systems, and use legal strategies to advance social justice.  However, there are many factors that deter law students from truly achieving such lofty goals. These factors include: the culture and pedagogy of legal education that produces more aspiring corporate lawyers than attorneys dedicated to protecting the interests of underrepresented or indigent clients; rising tuition and debt that limit choices law school graduates have to pursue careers at nonprofits; and the subtle pressure law students feel to abandon the political and moral values that initially informed their decision to become lawyers.


To shed light on the efforts of CLEA’s members to combat social injustice, CLEA’s Social Justice Issues Committee has been charged with “[disseminating] information regarding CLEA-supported social justice endeavors and projects as well as diversity issues."  Through this and future blogs we hope to attract volunteers to commit to writing a blog-style, op-ed-style, or newspaper-article-style post about an ongoing social justice project or resource available within CLEA's community. The Social Justice Issues Committee intends to roll out the posts we receive beginning in April 2019 and posting one every month.  We will post them on the CLEA website and share them through the CLEA social media platforms, the listservs, and the Clinical Law Prof blog. We hope we have a good impact, amplify some important stories, and build a foundation for future work.


There are daily reminders in the media, social networks, and hallway conversations that the world is at a defining moment for collective action against social injustice.  We know anecdotally that there are many courses and programs offered at law schools around the country that promote opportunities for students to help others while learning valuable lawyering skills.  For example, earlier this year, students from The University of California, Berkeley, School of Law traveled to Mexico to provide pro bono assistance to members of the migrant caravan seeking asylum in the United States.  The legal services the migrants received included know-your-rights training, legal orientation workshops, and direct legal services. The students learned first-hand that the opportunity to be a practicing attorney brings with it the responsibility to use their skills to address social injustice.  Berkeley’s Pro Bono Program sponsored the trip in connection with a legal services nonprofit.


We want to hear from you! Are you working on something exciting, innovative, or interesting that advances social justice goals? Know someone who is?


Let us know. Email the Social Justice Issues Committee at [email protected] or [email protected], and we may feature your work in an upcoming article.


April 1, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)