Professor Luz E. Herrera, HLS J.D. ’99, is Assistant Dean for Clinical Education, Experiential Learning, and Public Service at the UCLA School of Law. Prior to this appointment, she was Assistant Professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, where she directed the Small Business Law Center (SBLC) – a clinical program that provides legal services to nonprofits and public spirited entrepreneurs and she helped found the Center for Solo Practitioners, a program to help graduates understand how to establish and run their own law firms to serve underserved populations. She was also a Visiting Clinical Professor at the University of California Irvine School of Law, where she taught students in the Consumer Protection and the Community Economic Development clinics.
Her scholarship focuses on helping young lawyers in their effort to launch their own law practice and provide assistance to traditionally underserved communities. Professor Herrera has written many articles on this matter including, Training Lawyer Entrepreneurs, Rethinking Private Attorney Involvement Through a ‘Low Bono’ Lens, and Educating Main Street Lawyers. Her research and ideas seek to address the access to civil justice gap and call for an inclusive response to the needs of both clients and legal service providers.
In May of 2002, she opened her own practice to help her community members in the Compton community of Los Angeles, in the area of family law, estate planning, real estate and business transactions. In 2005 she also founded Community Lawyers, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides affordable legal services to underserved communities. And from 2006 to 2007, she returned to Harvard Law School to work as a Senior Clinical Fellow, supervising students in the Community Enterprise Project (CEP) at the Legal Services Center – a clinic where she also worked as a Harvard Law student.
When asked what advice she would give to current students, Professor Herrera said “I’d encourage them to be introspective about how their personal story and life experiences contribute to the law. They may find fulfilling opportunities in places and settings they may have never expected or know about.”
“My own career as a solo practitioner in an underserved community was fulfilling. It allowed me to advance my interest in helping those who didn’t have the money to hire lawyers at market rates, to use my language skills in a professional setting and to learn to advocate for a more inclusive public service agenda.”