The Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic & Center for Social Justice
Academics. Justice. Service. These are the core tenets on which the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law is built. Nowhere are they more prevalent than in the nationally ranked Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice. This legal clinic gives third-year law students the opportunity to be sworn into practice law and put their classroom knowledge to work in representing those in need under the supervision of clinic faculty. Students gain a wide range of legal skills, practical experience in a number of fields, and learning what it means to use the law to serve others.
Top Ranked Nationally
The Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice is ranked no. 32 among more than 200 ABA-ranked law schools by U.S. News and World Report.
PreLaw Magazine ranks Loyola Law in the Top 20 Law Schools for Public Service.
Through the Law Clinic, law students have the chance to represent real clients in nine different fields of practice.
Disaster Lawyering Project
The Disaster Lawyering Project is the Law Clinic's response to Hurricane Ida with a focus on FEMA issues. This project assists individuals adversely affected by the storm. Volunteers for the project have been dedicated in guiding those affected by the storm to resources and in helping them to fill out or appeal FEMA applications.
Clinic Faculty Successes
Professor Davida Finger was appointed director of the law clinic in August 2021. She is a leading national voice in clinical education.
Building the Practice
Professor Hiroko Kusuda was selected to serve a three year term for the national Federal Bar Association Immigration Law Section.
Honored by the LSBA
Professor Ramona Fernandez received the Louisiana State Bar Association's 2021 Children’s Law Award.
Serving the Community
The Law Clinic recently launched three new initiatives.
Disaster Lawyering Project
The Law Clinic recently launched the Disaster Lawyering Project to assist individuals adversely affected by Hurricane Ida with a focus on FEMA issues.
The Law Clinic recently partnered with United Way of Southeast Louisiana and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services to assist with the Louisiana Prisoner Reentry Initiative, which will address legal barriers such as municipal/traffic attachments.
United for Early Care and Education Project
The Law Clinic also launched the United for Early Care and Education Project, which allows the Law Clinic to provide technical and legal support to child care centers, beginning with a focus on the Payroll Protection Program (PPP).
Welcome New Students!
The Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice welcomed a new class of student practitioners on Friday, August 20, 2021.
Judge Miriam Waltzer and Judge Calvin Johnson administered the oath to students during orientation.
Youth Justice Clinic
The Loyola Law Clinic filed a suit against the City of New Orleans this morning for its unlawful evacuation of youth to adult correctional facilities.
"There is no emergency that can justify putting children in adult prison. While any particular storm might come as a surprise, it is no surprise that we need a safe and legal plan for our youth in the event of the hurricanes that so often affect our region." -Professor Hector Linares, Youth Justice Clinic
Children's Rights Success
On August 26 and 27, 2021, four days after the fall semester began, the students in the Children’s Rights section of the clinic conducted a two-day trial. We represented an 8-year-old girl in a custody case in which the maternal grandparents were seeking sole custody against the mother. As attorneys for the child, we presented evidence and arguments that it was in the child’s best interest for the court to terminate all supervised visitation between mother and child. During the two days of testimony, our students conducted direct and cross examination of eight witnesses and presented closing arguments. The court ruled in our favor.
Seven students conducted the trial: Victoria Barczyk, Jacquelyn G. Berry, Emilia W. Duncan, Olivia A. Holm, Michelle E. Riviere, Sarah Skidmore and Cynthia Traina
Criminal Justice Clinic
The clinic has been appointed to represent an indigent defendant charged with first degree rape and domestic violence. The cases are in the initial stages of discovery. A bond hearing is set for September 29, 2021. Student practitioners are engaged in representing a defendant who is seeking a new trial because he was convicted by a non-unanimous jury. There are two cases wherein the student practitioners are preparing to file for a parole hearing and a pardon hearing before the Louisiana Pardon and Parole Board.
Over the last year, the Immigration Section assisted more than 60 children with Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) apply for Lawful Permanent Residence status. The Immigration section also represents clients on numerous asylum cases. In one case, the client and her children suffered severe, life-threatening abuse from her former partner. She and her children eventually fled to the U.S., and the Immigration section successfully represented her on asylum/withholding of removal on three grounds: political belief, social group, and women in abusive relationships. The Immigration section also successfully represented the children who received Special Immigrant Status and now have Lawful Permanent Resident Status.