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Independent Juvenile Defender Program Progress Report

The Independent Juvenile Defender Program at LACBA closes out its first two years of operation with a reflection on our development, our successes, and our hope for the future. 

Since 2016, IJDP has added 29 new attorneys to our ranks and our panel’s caseload has grown to more than 2,000 petitions. With this increase, we have had the opportunity to evaluate our own progress and have seen our philosophy of holistic and zealous representation produce tangible results for our clients.

Our accomplishments have attracted local and national attention, including the choice of IJDP by the American Bar Association as one of only three Exemplary Defense Projects across the nation and public recognition of our work by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.

As we solidify our place in the juvenile justice community, we have partnered with organizations to increase the scope of our representation into education advocacy, crossover representation, disability rights, immigration law, et al.

However, our impact is not limited to our clients; our appellate arm is making a meaningful impact on state law and has had several successes in the Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court.

This year we established IJDP’s Summer Associate and Internship programs, during which we were joined by two rising first year law students and an undergraduate who enjoyed a summer analyzing and exploring micro and macro views of the juvenile justice system in Los Angeles County, including multidisciplinary research projects and fieldwork.

Our staff and panel are looking forward to continuing our trajectory, challenging the status quo and not settling for anything less than the best representation for our clients.