Jennifer B. Mertus

Visiting Professor of Lawyering Skills


Professor Mertus has been teaching since graduating summa cum laude from Whittier Law School in 2004. She became Director of the Center for Children and Families in 2011. As a student, and later as a volunteer attorney, Professor Mertus worked in Whittier Law School’s Children’s Rights Clinic representing indigent clients in guardianship and adoption matters. Professor Mertus’s research interest is in the field of adoption law, and beginning in 2009 her research and scholarship has focused specifically on international adoption law and, to some extent, on the intersection of international adoption law and the rights of same-sex couples. She has presented at various national conferences and has also authored articles and given presentations on topics such as second-parent adoption, baby trafficking, educational considerations for foster youth, and the international adoption aspects of formation of families in the LGBT community. 

Beginning in 2009, she has directed Whittier’s China study abroad program where, in addition to teaching courses, she was instrumental in developing externship opportunities at top Chinese law firms   and non-profit organizations in fields including corporate law, intellectual property law, and child welfare. She also works with New Hope Foundation and Foster Home in Beijing, a facility that provides provide care and medical treatment from local hospitals for babies with surgically correctable needs who are then adopted. 

Professor Mertus has served as a faculty advisor and coach for Whittier’s Moot Court Honors Board (MCHB) since beginning her career at Whittier. Over the years, she has coached teams in preparation for many national and international competitions and experienced great satisfaction in receiving both team and individual accolades for members of the MCHB.

In her Legal Writing classes, Professor Mertus uses real world examples and a skills-based approach to lay a foundation for her students to learn and improve their legal writing skills. 

She is an Associate Fellow in the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL), and a member of the International Society of Family Law (ISFL), the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC), LAWASIA, the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA), the Legal Writing Institute (LWI), and the Orange County Bar Association (OCBA). In addition, she is admitted to practice law in the state of California, the Central District of California, and the Ninth Circuit.

Current Courses:

Lawyering Skills I