Clare Pastore teaches Poverty Law, Civil Rights, Suing the Government, Civil Procedure, Professional Responsibility, and the Access to Justice Practicum, while continuing to practice as a leading member of the California public interest community. Her research interests center on poverty, civil rights, and access to justice issues, and she is co-author of the leading Poverty Law textbook. She is a regular speaker on poverty, access to justice, and public interest law.
Pastore has received frequent state and national recognition as an outstanding advocate and teacher. In 2020, she won Gould’s Rutter Award for Distinguished Teaching. In 2019, she was honored with the Earl Johnson Equal Justice Award by the Western Center on Law and Poverty for her achievements and leadership in access to justice throughout her career. In 2013, she was one of ten educators nationwide to receive the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award, which recognizes educators “who have inspired their former students to make a significant contribution to society.” In prior years, she was selected as a Wasserstein Fellow by Harvard Law School as part of its program recognizing outstanding public interest lawyers (2005), named one of the nation’s 45 most outstanding public interest attorneys under age 45 (American Lawyer magazine, 1997), one of California’s top lawyers under 40 years old (California Law Business, 1999), and one of Southern California’s “Super Lawyers” (2006-09). She was commended by an official State Assembly resolution in 2004 for her work on behalf of the poor in California.
Pastore serves on the California Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, the Board of Directors of the Wage Justice Center and the Steering Committee of the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel. She is a member of USC’s Center for the Changing Family and the Los Angeles County Bar’s Amicus Briefs and Professional Responsibility & Ethics committees. She is a past member of the American Bar Association’s Homelessness and Poverty Commission, and a former co-chair of the California Access to Justice Commission’s Right to Counsel Task Force.
From 1989 to 2004, Pastore was a staff attorney at the Western Center on Law and Poverty, where she litigated many state and federal cases involving poverty law and disability rights. She received one of the nation’s first Skadden Fellowships to begin her work there in 1989. She was also affiliated with the ACLU of Southern California as Senior Counsel from 2004 til 2007, and Of Counsel from 2007 until 2011.
Pastore holds a BA (Phi Beta Kappa) from Colgate University and a JD from Yale Law School, where she was a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal. She clerked for Judge Marilyn Hall Patel, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Prior to law school, she was a Fulbright-sponsored teaching assistant in a Paris public school.