Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

October 23, 2009
Leading Children's Advocate, Leslie Starr Heimov, to Give Keynote Speech for Public Interest Law Week

Leslie Starr Heimov, Executive Director of the Children's Law Center of Los Angeles, will deliver the keynote speech for Southwestern's 19th Annual Public Interest Law Week on Monday, October 26 at 12:30 p.m. She will discuss the work the organization does to represent more than 22,000 children in one of the largest foster care systems in the nation and provide a powerful voice in dependency court for young clients.

A leading advocate for some of the most vulnerable members of society, Ms. Heimov is a Certified Child Welfare Law Specialist. She has been with Children's Law Center of Los Angeles (CLC) since 1992, initially serving as a staff attorney and later as a supervising attorney, a position in which she provided oversight and training to more than 30 attorneys while continuing to handle complex and high profile cases.

With a longstanding commitment to public service, Southwestern's annual Public Interest Law Week includes a series of events designed to raise awareness and funding to promote public interest involvement and features presentations by prominent civic leaders and opportunities to meet with public interest attorneys. Fundraising efforts support Southwestern's Public Interest Law Summer Grants, which are awarded each year to students who work for organizations such as the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Bet Tzedek Legal Services and Public Counsel, among others.

"I am sure as Leslie shares her experiences in the courtroom representing minors, she will be very inspirational to our students and will provide insight into the challenges of the dependency system and the needs of our community," said Professor Laura Dym Cohen, Director of the Street Law Clinic and Community Outreach and Associate Clinical Professor of Law at Southwestern. "It is my hope that Southwestern law students will consider careers and pro bono work that will benefit children, especially foster children here in Los Angeles."

In 2003, Ms. Heimov became Policy Director, and in that capacity was responsible for handling CLCLA's legislative and policy agenda, including drafting legislation and working closely with elected officials, their staff, and other advocates to support important legislative reforms. In addition to serving as CLCLA Policy Director, she was Project Director of the Home At Last Initiative funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Ms. Heimov chaired a countywide Task Force on Pregnant and Parenting Teens and is a founding member of the Task Force to End Homophobia in Foster Care.  She serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Counsel for Children and on the National Advisory Board of the Children's Law Office Project, and is a member of the California Child Welfare Council. Ms. Heimov also serves on a variety of advisory boards including the National Advisory Board of the Children's Law Office Project and Para Los Ninos.

In addition to her work with the CLC, Ms. Heimov is also a trials skills instructor for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and regularly presents to the bench, attorneys, social workers, caregivers and law students on a multitude of topics related to the representation of abused and neglected children. She received her J.D. degree from American University Washington College of Law and has been a member of the California State Bar since 1992.

The keynote speech will take place in the Westmoreland Building of Southwestern's campus. Parking is available for $6 and directions can be found online.