Ms. Helena Marissa Montes is the Director and Co-Founder of LIJC. She built LIJC while in law school in response to an unmet need for free immigration legal services on the Eastside of Los Angeles. She was then jointly awarded Loyola’s Public Interest Fellowship, to establish the clinic and develop its immigration-lawyering curriculum for law students. In addition to the clinic, Ms. Montes teaches courses in regards to Cross-Cultural Competency and Trauma-Informed Lawyering, as well as spearheaded Loyola’s Immigration Law and Border Practicum, which includes an alternative spring break trip to El Paso, TX.
Ms. Montes serves as a visiting professor at the ITESO in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she teaches U.S. asylum law and serves migrant shelters. Ms. Montes has been recognized as a Top Young Lawyer by the ABA (2017) and HNBA (2019). She serves on the California Department of Justice, Calgang Database Technical Advisory Committee and was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti to serve on the inaugural Los Angeles Commission on Civil and Human Rights. She received her B.A. in International Relations and Spanish from the University of Southern California and her J.D. from Loyola in 2012.