Meet the Faculty

Full-Time Faculty, Study Abroad Faculty

Jennifer B. Mertus

Professor of Lawyering Skills
Director, Center for Children and Families
Director, China Study Abroad Program

  • B.S., Marine Biology, University of North Carolina, Wilmington
  • B.A., Psychology, University of North Carolina, Wilmington
  • J.D., Whittier Law School, Summa Cum Laude

Contact Information

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Tel. 714.444.4141 ext. 243
Fax. 714.444.3230
Building Three, Legal Clinic

Areas of Expertise

Professor Mertus has been teaching Legal Writing since graduating summa cum laude from Whittier Law School in 2004. She became Director of the Center for Children and Families in 2011. As a student, and later as a volunteer attorney, Professor Mertus worked in Whittier Law School’s Children’s Rights Clinic representing indigent clients in guardianship and adoption matters. Professor Mertus’s research interest is in the field of adoption law, and beginning in 2009 her research and scholarship has focused specifically on international adoption law and, to some extent, on the intersection of international adoption law and the rights of same-sex couples. She has presented at various national conferences and has also authored articles on topics such as second-parent adoption, baby trafficking, and the international adoption aspects of formation of families in the LGBT community.

Professor Mertus has also taught a number of child and family law courses through Whittier’s summer abroad program in Nanjing, China in cooperation with the prestigious Nanjing University Law School. Beginning in 2009, she has served as the Director of the China summer abroad program.

Professor Mertus has served as a faculty advisor and coach for Whittier’s Moot Court Honors Board (MCHB) since beginning her career at Whittier. Over the years, she has coached teams in preparation for many national and international competitions and experienced great satisfaction in receiving both team and individual accolades for members of the MCHB.

In her Legal Writing classes, Professor Mertus uses real world examples and a skills-based approach to lay a foundation for her students to learn and improve their legal writing skills. She is a member of the International Society of Family Law (ISFL), the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC), LAWASIA, the American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA), the Legal Writing Institute (LWI), and the Orange County Bar Association (OCBA). In addition, she is admitted to practice law in the state of California.



  • Barriers. Hurdles, and Discrimination: LGBT Intercountry Adoption and Why Changes Must Be Made to Effectuate the Best Interests of the Child, 39 Cap. U. L. Rev. 271 (2011).
  • In re Adoption of R.B.F.: A Step Toward the Recognition and Acceptance of Non-Traditional Families, 3 Whittier Journal of Child and Family Advocacy 171 (2003).

Editorials and Commentaries

  • THE LOS ANGELES DAILY JOURNAL, Foreign Backlash to Same-Sex Marriage, June 24, 2013.
  • THE LOS ANGELES DAILY JOURNAL, Russia’s U.S. Adoption Ban An Act of Retaliation, January 10, 2013.
  • THE LOS ANGELES DAILY JOURNAL, Adoption Procedure Flaws Exposed, September 17, 2009.
  • Educational Considerations and Strategies for Foster Youth, Hawaii International Conference on Education, January 3-7, 2017.
  • One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: The Effect of Marriage Equality on LGBT Intercountry Adoption, St. John’s Adoption Initiative 8th Biennial Conference – Sleeping Giants in Adoption: Power, Privilege, Politics, and Class, May 21-23, 2014.
  • Looking to the Future: Removal of Categorical Bans in Intercountry Adoption, Invited Presenter, The Future of Children in International Law Symposium, Southwestern Law School’s Journal of International Law, February 2013.
  • Child Trafficking and Intercountry Adoption: How the Chinese System Incentivizes Baby Buying, Invited Presenter. Human Trafficking: Modern Slavery, Whittier Law School Law Review Symposium, November 2, 2012.
  • Intercountry Adoption: The Present and Future of LGBT Intercountry Adoption, Future of Adoption in America Symposium, American Academy of Adoption Attorneys Mid-year Conference, October 18, 2012
  • How to Teach Students to Peer Review (Not Peer Edit), Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, Arizona State University Law School, March 23-34, 2012.
  • The Status of LGBT Intercountry Adoption, Work in Progress Series, Whittier Law School, April 28, 2011.