Pepperdine University Legal Aid Clinic


Our legal system was created for the greater good of us all, our communities and our nation. But often, for the poor and powerless, minor violations create insurmountable barriers to their recovery and re-entry into society.

Opened in 1999, the Pepperdine Legal Aid Clinic is an essential component to the rehabilitation programs onsite at Union Rescue Mission.  Homeless men and women can seek to overcome their past in order to re-enter their communities as productive, upstanding contributors.

The Legal Aid Clinic, staffed by an attorney and student law clerks, has developed a reputation for making a difference in the downtown community. As a result, we steadily receive referrals from caseworkers with various local public assistance programs and job development agencies.

Justice tempered with mercy is our mission.

Operating on a full-time basis, the clinic’s services include:

  •  Interviewing, advising, and counseling
  •  Assistance in resolving tickets and warrants
  •  Preparation of court paperwork in child support, custody and visitation cases
  •  Expungements (dismissing criminal convictions)
  •  Government Benefits
  •  Assistance with income tax controversies
  •  Preparation for Homeless Court

In 2006, the clinic had 1,410 visits.

Each has a unique story, both touching and tragic.

For example: One woman with two children in our women's ministry programs needed our assistance to clear an old record of drug charges after being clean and sober for years. With our help, she realized her dream of getting off of welfare and beginning a promising new career.

We went to family court with a graduate of our Men's Christian Life Discipleship Program to help him re-establish visitation with his young son. He wanted a chance to be a good father and was willing to do whatever he must to re-establish a relationship of trust. We were able to obtain a court order to help him be a part of his son's life.

"It has been so rewarding to see the law students and clients connect, and to see clients empowered to face and overcome their past. For students and volunteer attorneys alike, working at Pepperdine Legal Aid Clinic puts a human face on all the academic theory of law school. What a joy it is to get to combine lawyering with compassion."

-Brittany Stringfellow Otey
 Directing Attorney & Assistant Law Professor at Pepperdine University