Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law alumna Leslie Ivie (’08) has served her community for more than 15 years, helping nonprofit organizations achieve their missions. In 2015, she founded the Restoration Law Center, which provides low- or no-cost services for nonprofits and individuals, including mobile criminal defense, nonprofit formation legal services, and training resources. Providing access to justice to those who need it most, her work has been and recognized Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City and County of Los Angeles, among others.
We recently caught up with Leslie, who shared the following about the impact of her work and her law school experience.
Can you share your career path with us?
I have had the honor of serving diverse communities of people through work with nonprofit organizations such as Liberty Hill Foundation, National Immigration Law Center, Japanese American National Museum, Inner-City Arts, and the American Association of University Women.
I have also served as a trial lawyer with the Los Angeles County Public Defender, a volunteer with the ACLU of Southern California Reentry Initiative, and a volunteer with the Legal Aid Foundation’s South Los Angeles Community Economic Development Unit. As a graduate student at USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, I was also a USC Board Fellow which helped me study best practices in nonprofit board governance.
This is an incredible time to be a lawyer – for me this work is about being a champion for people and for recognizing the power of the law to protect life, dignity, freedom, and the human rights of all people.
What is your day-to-day like in your current role?
Restoration Law Center guides individuals and nonprofit organizations over obstacles by providing a range of needed services. As the founding attorney of Restoration Law Center, each day is organized around three core organizational functions: administration, legal services, and outreach/training. My days are usually full of adventure and creativity – going to court, meeting clients’ families in their communities, making jail visits, teaching legal workshops, leading volunteers at legal clinics, developing organizational partnerships for the Mobile Law Office (our law office on wheels), coordinating events for the Public Interest Law Institute (a community-based legal resource created by Dr. Desmonette Hazly of South Los Angeles), working with artists, and speaking on panels about legal issues. I am so grateful to be living this chapter of my life.
What skills did you receive from Chapman that have been instrumental in your career?
I received a new way of thinking at the Fowler School of Law. One of my favorite classes was Law and Literature – a class in which I began to see the humanity behind the mechanics of law. The law seeks to bring order to chaos – an alchemist’s blend of art and science. In law school, I started the process of learning how to weave evidence, law, and respect for humanity together. I say “started” because this is a lifelong course of study.
Do any law school experiences stick out to you?
One of my favorite memories was when a group of local high school students came to visit for a day with the Minority Law Students Association. It was so inspiring to hear them thinking out loud together through conversations about law, justice, and their own power. It was also surprising to realize that while systemic injustice is painful and present daily for many of us, it seems to be invisible to others – even when looking at the same cases.