Advocates for Youth Justice (AYJ)

Advocates for Youth Justice (AYJ) Advocates for Youth Justice (AYJ) is a community of advocates committed to youth justice issues now and throughout their careers. AYJ operates three youth-oriented legal services projects and provides peer mentorship and networking opportunities for law students interested in issues affecting Bay Area youth.


AYJ's Berkeley High Student Court takes a restorative, student-based approach to school discipline at Berkeley High School (BHS). The court handles real discipline cases brought before a student jury, and student lawyers argue the case for both sides. Berkeley Law students train BHS student lawyers by teaching a class on the basics of trial procedures including trial process, voir dire, opening and closing statements, and objections. Berkeley Law students then mentor the BHS student lawyers as they participate in the program. Berkeley Law students also serve as trial coordinators, acting as clerk and bailiff, selecting jurors from the student jury pool, and assisting the judge. The coordinator contacts and recruits local judges (state and federal), law professors, and lawyers to serve as judges for the court. Berkeley Law students are recruited to teach, mentor, and preside over trials throughout the school year.


The Education Advocacy Project works with attorneys from the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) and Disability Rights California to train Berkeley Law students to become court-appointed educational rights holders for children in foster care who have special education needs. Once trained, Berkeley Law students are paired with a foster youth, a practicing attorney, and a fellow law student with educational advocacy experience. The Berkeley Law student then works with schools and other service providers to actively advocate for their assigned youth’s special education needs. Participating students learn about administrative law, special education, and the foster care system. They also gain valuable mediation and advocacy skills. Because of the personal connection made with a foster youth, a one year minimum commitment is required for this clinic, but many students remain partnered with their youth after graduating, either until the youth turns 18 or the student/graduate leaves the Bay Area.

We are grateful to our supporters listed below:

Anne P. Bellows '13
Carolyn S. Blumenfeld '14
Daniel M. Bruggemeyer '15
Melissa J. Burkhart '15
Joseph V. Bui '13
Alexxander P. Campbell '15
Melanie M. Cole '13
Sean A. Darling-Hammond '14
Marlene M. Dehlinger '13
Sonja F. Diaz '13
Lauren G. Escher '13
Erin B. Everett '13
Zachary J. Franklin '14
Emily D. Gladden '14
GJEL Accident Attorneys | Luke Ellis ‘75
Andrew J. Gordon '14
Meghan E. Harrington '15
Brittany G. Harwood '14
Jon N. Horne
Zi Wei Hu '13
Allen L. Huang '15
Negin Iraninejadian '11
Cory H. Isaacson '13
Phillip A. Johnston '14
Katherine L. Katcher '13
Elisabeth J. Lee '15
Rebecca C. Lee '14
Abigail S. Ludwig '15
Lindsay J. Markel '15
Jennifer J. Matystik '13
Angie Mazakis
Katherine E. Merk '13
Justin E. McGuirk '15
Erin J. Morgan '13
John Muse-Fisher '14
Kaitlyn M. Murphy '13
Cristina M. Najarro '15
David B. Oppenheimer
Sonya P. Passi '13
Somerset M. Perry '13
Andrea L. Peterson '78
Rhiannon Pimentel
Rebecca Popuch '14
Swati R. Prakash '13
Jacob R. Rasch-Chabot '13
Jacob A. X. Richards '10
Melanie Rowen
Louis A. Russell '15
Catherine Sakimura
Angelica H. Salceda '13
Ann E. Sagan '13
Andrew J. Sioson '13
Jill E. Sowards '13
Timothy Sun '13
Samona L. Taylor '13
Fabiano P. Valerio '14
Charlynn L. Weissenbach '13
Micah West '13
Katie M. Yablonka '13
Lauren N. Zachry '15