Professor Robert Fellmeth graduated from Stanford University (AB 1967) and the Harvard Law School (JD 1970). He worked for Ralph Nader from 1968-73, helping to start what the press has called “Nader’s Raiders” – groups of young lawyers who investigated federal agencies and wrote health and safety laws.
For the past 33 years he has been a tenured professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he now holds the Price Chair in Public Interest Law. In 1989, Professor Fellmeth founded the Children’s Advocacy Institute (CAI), an academic center on child rights at the USD School of Law. CAI trains child advocates and runs a clinic representing children in dependency and delinquency court. It operates a statewide law firm for child rights, devoted to lobbying at the state capitol and to litigation and agency advocacy for children. Child related statutes over the last two decades include child safety (bicycle helmets, swimming pool safeguards, playground safety), California’s “Kid’s Plates,” child support collection enhancement, child care regulation reform, and child welfare improvement. Litigation includes CTA v. Huff 5 Cal.App. 3d 1513 (1992) protecting pre-school education funding, and California State Foster Parents v. Wagner affecting the supply of family foster care placements from which adoptions occur and now before the Ninth Circuit. CAI publishes the CALIFORNIA CHILDREN’S REGULATORY LAW REPORTER, the annual CHILDREN’S REPORT CARD ON LEGISLATORS, and numerous reports.
Professor Fellmeth’s scholarship includes 14 books and treatises, and 150 articles, op eds and columns. He has drafted and co-sponsored fifty federal and state statutes. He has litigated 40 reported appellate cases. His education work includes (a) CAI’s training of 600 law students in child advocacy skills over the last twenty years, many of whom are now recognized in the field; (b) budget education spending analysis in “California Children Budget” publications, and (c) legislative advocacy; particularly as to the education of foster children covering including special education issues, and the 2003 enactment of AB 490 (Steinberg) to protect their rights to mainstream education and continuity between schools.
Fellmeth is currently counsel to the Board of Voices for America’s Children and serves on the Board of the Maternal and Child Health Access Foundation in Los Angeles, and the First Star Foundation in Washington, D.C. He serves as the Chair of the Public Citizen Foundation in Washington, D.C., and Chairs the Board of Directors of the National Association of Counsel for Children.