Spring Break Caravan: California Women’s Law Center

by Ying Liu LL.M. ’18


Ying and her caravan team


For spring break, I joined the pro bono trip with the California Women’s Law Center (CWLC).  The reason that I wanted to join this trip is because I myself have benefited from the protection of girls’ rights. I grew up in a rural area in mainland China, where people do not care much about girls’ education and career development. Many girls marry at a very young age, without the opportunity to explore the outside world. Thanks to the vision of my parents, I got to have a quality education and many good opportunities. For this reason, for the past few years I have participated in pro bono work for the protection of elder women’s rights. Although I will not be working in the public interest sector after graduation, I felt it would be meaningful if I could participate in such work in the United States.


For five days, I worked with a team at the site of the California Women’s Law Center. Our task was to conduct research into the causes of action including sexual discrimination, harassment and assault under both California law and federal law, and then put together a guide. Our guide broke each cause of action into several elements, and under each element, we provided case illustrations. We started early, at around 8:15 every day, and searched cases and rules using Westlaw or Lexis. From time to time, we would update each other on our progress and discuss how to better present our research results.


The research was tough. We spent 40 hours together in a conference room, but we felt very proud and got a great sense of achievement when we finished. The cases were very troubling. We could feel how vulnerable the women and girls involved were, and hope they can one day bravely say NO when they are hurt or treated unfairly. In the wave of the #Metoo movement, we found our work very meaningful. Apart from speaking out, women should know how to protect themselves and get fair treatment. The guide we created will be distributed to the public. When women encounter troubling events, they can look to the guide and compare their scenarios to the cases to see how to seek help. The guide could potentially also serve as a preliminary reference for legal professionals who work on this aspect.


Since we started early each day, we would leave early and arrange our own leisure time after work. One day we went to the Manhattan Beach, a very tranquil place for people to take a break. Another day, two of us went to the Broad Museum to see a Jasper Johns exhibition.


Over the weekend, I spent two days in LA. I visited the Getty Museum; the collection there was amazing! If I had enough time, I would have spent two days there alone! Bonus, it was admission-free! I also went to the Griffith Observatory to experience the movie “La La Land.” The show offered by the observatory was fabulous, just like you were lying under the starry sky.


This spring break trip was one of the most memorable events that I have experienced since I came to CLS!


Ying is an LLM student who received her LLB degree from East China University of Political Science and Law, and an LLM degree from The University of Hong Kong. She practices in capital markets area.