Steve Berenson

Steve Berenson
Professor of Law
Director, Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic
LL.M., Harvard University;
J.D., Harvard University, magna cum laude;
B.A., Franklin and Marshall College, magna cum laude
Phone: (619) 961-4205

Following graduation from law school, where he served as Trial Operations Director of the Harvard Defenders, Professor Berenson clerked for Justice Edith W. Fine of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. He then spent more than five years as an Assistant Massachusetts Attorney General, where he focused on civil litigation in the areas of administrative, constitutional and consumer protection law. During that time, Professor Berenson also served as a Supreme Court Fellow with the National Association of Attorneys General. He then spent two years as a teaching fellow in Harvard Law School’s Lawyering Program, while at the same time earning an LL.M. degree. Professor Berenson spent four years at Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad Law Center, teaching in the school’s Lawyering Skills and Values Program and its Children and Family Law Clinic, in addition to teaching traditional courses in Professional Responsibility and Elder Law.  

He has published articles on topics including attorney professional role, access to justice and clinic legal education in journals such as the Fordham Law Review, the Boston College Law Review, the San Diego Law Review, the Rutgers Law Journal and the Elder Law Journal. He has published two course books in the area of Family Law.  Professor Berenson is a member of the state bars of Massachusetts, Florida and California.  He currently serves as a Pro Tem Judge for the San Diego Superior Court and a Fee Arbitrator for the San Diego County Bar Association’s Fee Arbitration Program.  

Fun Fact: He also plays the drums in the Innocent Bystanders, a rock band that includes three Thomas Jefferson Professors and two Alumni.

Courses include: Family Law, Professional Responsibility, Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic.  


Family Law Litigation (Carolina Academic Press 2017)

Family Law: Doctrine and Practice (Carolina Academic Press 2017)

Articles, Book Chapters, And Article-Length Works

The Real Social Security Disability Fraud(s), 9 DePaul J. for Soc. Just. 93 (2016)

The Veterans Clinic and Legal Education: A Conversation with Professor Steven Berenson, 9 U. Mass. L. Rev. 444 (with Paul Lee) (2014)

Economic Windfalls and Child Support: How Should Gifts, Inheritances, and Prizes Be Treated?, 47 Suffolk U. L. Rev. 701 (2014)

From the Ashes of the Lawyer-Statesman Rises the Lawyer-Democrat: Practical Legal Wisdom from the Ground Up, 2014 J. of the Prof. Lawyer 17 (2014)

Preparing Clinical Law Students for Advocacy in Poor People’s Courts, 43 N.M. L. Rev. 363 (2013)

The Elkins Legislation: Will California Change Family Law Again?, 15 Chap. L. Rev. 443 (2012)

Should Cohabitation Matter in Family Law?, 13 J. L. & Fam. Stud. 289 (2011)

Homeless Veterans and Child Support, 45 Fam. L.Q. 173 (2011)

The Movement Towards Veterans Courts, 44 Clearinghouse Rev. 37 (2010)

Home Court Advantage Revisited: Interstate Modification of Child Support Orders Under UIFSA and FFCCSOA, 45 Gonz. L. Rev. 479 (2009/2010)

Dale Margolin, Steve Berenson, Lisa Martin, Karen Pearlman Raab, & Maryann Zavez, Empowerment, Innovation, and Service: Law School Programs Provide Access to Justice and Instill a Commitment to Serve, 48 Fam. Ct. Rev. 672 (2010)

Legal Services for Struggling Veterans: Then and Now, 30 Hamline J. Pub. L. & Pol'y 101 (2009)

Issues Raised by Military Service in the Context of Family Law Cases, 43 Clearinghouse Rev. 220 (Sept.-Oct. 2009) (with Angela Anderson)

Government Lawyer as Cause Lawyer: A Study of Three High Profile Government Lawsuits, 86 Denv. U. L. Rev. 457 (2009)

Educating Millennial Law Students for Public Obligation, 1 Charlotte L. Rev. 51 (2008)

Passion is No Ordinary Word, 71 Alb. L. Rev. 165 (2008)

A Primer for New Civil Law Clinic Students:The History and Development of Legal Aid and Clinical Legal Education in America and Common Issues That Have Arisen, 38 McGeorge L. Rev. 603 (2007)

Institutional Professionalism for Lawyers: Realizing the Virtues of Civic Professionalism, 109 W. Va. L. Rev. 67 (2006)

Creating Workplace Solutions for Women Attorneys: Report of the Lawyers Club of San Diego Balance Campaign, 28 T. Jefferson L. Rev. 449 (2006)

Hard Bargaining on Behalf of the Government Tortfeasor: A Study in Government Lawyer Ethics, 56 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 345 (2005)

A Cloak for the Bare: In Support of Allowing Prospective Malpractice Liability Waivers in Certain Pro Bono Cases, 29 J. Legal Prof. 1 (2004-2005)

What Should Law School Conduct Codes Do?, 38 Akron L. Rev. 803 (2005)

The Duty Defined: Specific Obligations That Follow From Government Lawyers' Duty to Serve the Public Interest, 42 Brandeis L.J. 13 (2003)

Book Review, 27 Legal Stud. F. 479 (2003) (reviewing Raymond F Gregory, Age Discrimination in the American Workspace: Old at a Young Age (2001))

Is It Time for Lawyer Profiles?, 70 Fordham L. Rev. 645 (2001)

A Family Law Residency Program?: A Modest Proposal in Response to the Challenge Presented by Self -Represented Litigants in Family Court, 33 Rutgers L.J. 105 (2001)

Public Lawyers, Private Values: Can, Should, and Will Government Attorneys Serve the Public Interest?, 41 B. C. L. Rev. 789 (2000)

Book Review, 23 Legal Stud. F. 585 (1999) (reviewing John C. Anderson, Why Lawyers Derail Justice (1999))

Politics and Plurality in a Lawyer?s Choice of Clients: The Case of Stropnicky v. Nathanson, 35 San Diego L. Rev. 1 (1998)

Can We Talk?: Impediments to Intergenerational Dialogue and Practice in Law School Elder Law Clinics, 6 Elder L.J. 185 (1998)

Download a list of Shorter Work for Professor Berenson

Veterans and Military Clients in Family , Orange County Bar Association, Family Law Section , Orange, CA (April 25, 2017)

Test Presentation 1, Event Title 1, UCSD, San Diego (April 9, 2017), available at

Anti-Poverty Community Roundtable, ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty, San Diego, CA (February 25, 2016)

Hot Topics in Legal Ethics, MCLE Class, Thomas Jefferson School of Law , Thomas Jefferson School of Law , San Diego, CA (October 25, 2015)

Legal Resources for Homeless Veterans , PATH (People Assisting the Homeless), Veterans Alumni Club Dinner, San Diego, CA (October 25, 2015)

The Effect of Bad Paper Discharges on Veterans , Marine Corps Defense Services Organization, Camp Pendleton , San Diego, CA (May 25, 2015)

Fair Housing Issues for Veterans, 22nd Annual Fair Housing Laws & Litigation Conference , San Diego, CA (February 25, 2015)

Fair Housing Issues for Veterans, 20th Annual Fair Housing Laws & Litigation , San Diego, CA (February 25, 2013)

Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law, 13th Annual Conference, Breast Cancer Legal Advocacy Network Workshop , San Diego, CA (February 25, 2012)

Helping Members of the Military: Using Collaboration to Address the Complex Needs of Service Members and Veterans, Beyond the Bench 21–Sponsored by the California Administrative Office of the Courts, San Francisco, CA, Dec. 15, 2011

Helping the Military Member: Representation of Active Duty Service Members Under the SCRA, Collaboration for Homelessness Prevention and Outreach to Homeless Veterans, A.B. 1058 Child Support Training Conference, San Diego, September 9, 2011

Helping Homeless Veterans Comply with Child Support Obligations, US Department of Veterans Affairs; US Dept. Health and Human Services; American Bar Association, Webinar, Mar 3, 2010

Roadblocks and Checkpoints: The Impact of Military Service on the Family, John Marshall School of Law Veterans Legal Support Clinic, Chicago, IL, Nov 6, 2009

Public Lawyer as Internal Monitor: Delivering Bad News to Clients, Public Law Research Institute, UC Hastings College of Law, San Francisco, CA, Oct 23, 2009

Domestic Violence and Returning Veterans: Providing Assistance for Veterans Struggling with Mental Health Issues, Ninth Annual Women in the Law Conference, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Feb. 27, 2009

Veterans' Fair Housing Needs, 16th Annual Fair Housing Laws & Litigation Conference, San Diego, CA , Feb 12, 2009

Work in Progress - Government Lawyer as Cause Lawyer, AALS Clinical Section, Tucson, AZ, May 7, 2008

What is a Progressive View of the City Attorney's Office?, American Constitution Society, San Diego, CA, Jan 23, 2008

Legal Ethics Goes to the Movies, North County San Diego Bar Association, Vista, CA, Jan. 10, 2008

Why Can't We All Just Get Along, Civility in Litigation, With: Dean Jeff Joseph, Thomas Jefferson School of Law Alumni, San Diego, CA, Apr. 27, 2007

Meeting Community Needs, Mountain West Regional Clinical Conference, University of Nevada at Las Vegas, Nov. 18, 2006

Avoiding Ethical Blowouts, American Trucking Association Litigation Center, Forum for Motor Carrier General Counsels, San Diego, CA, July 2005

Interviewing and Counseling in Context: New Approaches and New Ideas - Older Adult Clients, AALS Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, Jan. 2005

Ethics in High Profile Cases, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, CA, Oct. 2004

The Thomas Jefferson School of Law faculty is highly prolific in the field of legal scholarship and our professors are in demand as speakers and panelists at legal events in the U.S. and abroad.

State Bar Recognizes Alumna, Nicole Heffel ‘13, For Exemplary Pro Bono Service

State Bar Recognizes Alumna, Nicole Heffel ‘13, For Exemplary Pro Bono Service

July 31, 2015

“I am so pleased to report that Nicole Heffel ‘13 just won the...

Alumni Association Hosts Bar Support Breakfast

Alumni Association Hosts Bar Support Breakfast

July 30, 2015

On Saturday, July 25, 2015, the Thomas Jefferson Alumni Association hosted a breakfast on the 5th floor in the student lounge for alumni studying...

Speed Networking

March 26, 2015

The Family Law Society (FLS) and the Immigration Law Society (ILS) co-hosted a Speed Networking event on Friday, February 20, 2015. Christine...

Nicole Heffel ‘13 Opens Boutique Law Firm

October 23, 2014

After deciding to pursue a career in wealth management as a financial consultant, Alumna Nicole Heffel ‘13 reassessed her path after successfully...

Successful Military Spouse Conference Held at TJSL

October 20, 2014

By Lilia Rodriguez 2L

On Friday, October 17th, TJSL hosted Military Spouse JD Network’s annual “Making the Right Moves...

Family Law

  • Children
  • Domestic Violence
  • Elder Law
  • Marriage and Divorce

Legal Education

Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility