Laura Dym Cohen
Director of the Street Law Clinic and Community Outreach and Associate Clinical Professor of Law
B.A., Communication Studies, 1988, University of California, Santa Barbara; J.D., 1992, University of San Francisco; Member, California State Bar
Phone: (213) 738-5737
As Director of Southwestern's Street Law Clinic and Community Outreach, Laura Dym Cohen brings her extensive experience helping abused and neglected foster children and their families at the Los Angeles County Children's Court to the classroom.
"I am inspired by my Street Law students' dedication and commitment to help their students. It is my hope to expand our program as we target a population that is in great need of law related education and resources."
Professor Cohen created the Street Law clinical program at Southwestern in 2006 based on the curriculum from Street Law Inc. for Youth in Transition. Law students enrolled in the clinic teach law-related critical life skills to teens throughout Los Angeles. Most of the students are in foster care or on probation, and many receive special education services. The goal of the program is to encourage the youth to think critically about the law, help them to make good choices for themselves, and most importantly give the youth legal information that will assist them for a successful transition to adulthood. Professor Cohen received national recognition when she was named 2007 Street Law Educator of the Year. She also has twice been honored with an Excellence in Teaching Award from Southwestern.
"It is a privilege to work with students, faculty and staff at Southwestern," Professor Cohen says. "I am inspired by my Street Law students' dedication and commitment to help their students. It is my hope to expand our program as we target a population that is in great need of law related education and resources. I am also working with our students and the legal community to bring additional opportunities to our students and program partnerships to our campus." As Director of Community Outreach, she also coordinates the law school's Public Service Program and is the faculty advisor to student public interest groups including Teen Court.
Professor Cohen works with and often trains pro bono attorneys for various nonprofit opportunities and law-related education programs. She helped create the Los Angeles Incubator Consortium which was awarded a grant from the State Bar of California's Commission on Access to Justice. She has served as co-chair of the Juvenile Courts Task Force of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, as a member of the California State Bar Council on Access and Fairness and was on the California State Bar Task Force on Admissions Regulation Reform (Phase II: Implementation). She currently is on Equal Justice Work's National Advisory Committee, Co-chairs the Southern California Diversity Pipeline Coalition, SALT Trina Grillo Planning Committee, California Foster Youth Education Task Force and is a mediator for the Consortium for Children regarding permanency planning mediations for dependency matters.
2008 and 2009 Adjunct Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient