California Department of Fair Employment and Housing Civil Rights Clinic

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is the nation's largest state civil rights agency responsible for enforcing the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Unruh Civil Rights Act, Ralph Civil Rights Act, and Disabled Persons Act.  The DFEH receives, investigates, mediates, and litigates complaints of discrimination based on numerous protected classifications filed by the public, including race, disability, gender, gender-preference, and familial status. 

All clinic assignments are supervised by experienced DFEH attorneys. 

The primary focus of the clinic is to provide students with experience in handling actual DFEH mediations.  Students will evaluate the merits of their assigned case, analyze the interests of the various parties, develop professional relationships with the complainants and opposing counsel, value the case, and develop a mediation and negotiation strategy.  Students will then participate and implement those strategies and engage in a negotiation in an actual mediation. 

Prior to their mediation assignments students will also shadow and observe DFEH attorneys in their mediations. 

During the course of the clinic, students will also investigate claims as neutral fact finders, develop an investigative plan, deciding which documents and witnesses to interview, obtain those documents, and interview the witnesses.  At the conclusion of their investigation, the students are expected to make formal recommendations as to how the claims should be handled, including the possibility of recommending mediation and litigation or in closing the case. 

Finally, depending on the availability of assignments, students are provided with litigation assignments for cases pending in either in the state Superior Courts or in federal District Courts.  Litigation tasks include drafting pleadings, initiating and responding to discovery, enforcement of administrative discovery, and law and motion.


Jon Ichinaga
Phone: 949-824-8907