Clinical Education Program

Prepares Students for Practice and Provides Needed Services to the Community

Clinical Education Program

Brittany Stringfellow Otey, Richard Peterson, Laurie Serafino, Bruce Einhorn

During the last decade, Pepperdine has dramatically expanded its clinical offerings recognizing “the power of clinical experiences to engage and expand students’ expertise and professional identity through supervised responsibility for clients” as noted by the 2007 report on legal education by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Pepperdine students today have many opportunities to enrich their education through participation in one of the six Pepperdine clinics maintained by the law school. The Clinical Program gives students the ability to serve low income families and individuals across the region while also gaining hands-on experience in the practice of law.

Directed by Brittany Stringfellow Otey, assistant professor of law, the Legal Aid Clinic and the Family Law Clinic are both housed in the Union Rescue Mission, one of the largest homeless shelters on Los Angeles’ skid row. There, student law clerks help clients with family law issues, in addition to tickets and warrants,  expungements, applications for homeless court, credit, housing, taxes, and benefits. The Special Education Advocacy Clinic, directed by Richard Peterson, assistant professor of law and former president of the Orange County Regional Center, educates students about the nature of disabilities—such as autism, attention deficit disorder, and cerebral palsy—and provides  opportunities for them to assist in the assessment of their clients’ special education legal needs and to represent them in the resolution of any disputes that may arise. Nidya Paredes (’06, JD ’09) serves as associate director of the clinic.

The Asylum Clinic, directed by Judge Bruce Einhorn, who enjoyed a distinguished career as a federal immigration judge before helping to found the Pepperdine clinic, provides law students the opportunity to represent indigent and underprivileged foreign-born individuals who seek asylum in the United States. The clinic’s primary focus is on claims of religious persecution, but extends to others with well-founded fears of persecution on recognized grounds. Susan Hill (JD ’93) and Emily Allen (JD ’05), who are  experienced practitioners in the field, serve as supervising attorneys in the clinic. The Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution operates two additional clinics. The Mediation Clinic provides students the opportunity to serve as a mediator in small claims court cases and other referred disputes. The Investor Advocacy Clinic, which was founded through a generous grant from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is led by director Robert Uhl, a partner in the law firm of Aidikoff, Uhl & Bakhtiari and a leader in the field, and associate director, Judith Hale Norris, formerly vice president of FINRA. Students in the clinic provide legal counsel to clients who have been wronged by their brokerage firms and don’t have the financial resources to pay legal fees.

Recent Publications from Clinical Education Faculty

Richard M. Peterson
Caught in the Cross-Fire: The Psychological and Emotional Impact of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)  upon Teachers of Children with Disabilities: A Therapeutic Jurisprudence Analysis, Int’l J.L. & Psychiatry (forthcoming).

The Persistence of Low Expectations in Special Education Law Viewed Through the Lens of Therapeutic Jurisprudence, 33 Int’l J.L. & Psychiatry 375 (2009)

Laurie B. Serafino
Life Cycles of Revolutionary Upheavals Through Bob Dylan’s Eyes, 38 Fordham Urb. L.J. (forthcoming 2011).

No Walk in the Dog Park: Drafting Animal Cruelty Statutes to Resolve Double Jeopardy Concerns and Eliminate Unfettered Prosecutorial Discretion, 78 Tenn. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2011).

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