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CLEA news blog: you can use your news aggregator to monitor the latest on the CLEA website.

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  • 04 Sep 2019 7:28 PM | Jeff Baker (Administrator)

    By Shanta Trivedi, Clinical Teaching Fellow, Bronfein Family Law Clinic

    In May 2019, University of Baltimore Bronfein Family Law Clinic (“UB FLC”) and the ACLU of Arizona jointly filed an amicus brief in the Arizona Supreme Court in support of Juan P., a Mexican father fighting to get his son out of foster care in the United States and back to his family in Mexico where he belongs. 

    The UB FLC represents indigent clients in custody, visitation, divorce, and other family law proceedings and engages in litigation regarding important family law issues.  It also partners with community organizations to tackle larger systemic issues through advocacy, education, and legislative work. The fundamental, constitutionally protected liberty interest in the care, custody, and control of one’s children is a core principle of the UB FLC’s work and the community it serves. Juan P’s case was particularly compelling because it presented significant and timely issues of child custody and child welfare law that have broad implications for many children and parents, particularly during the ongoing family separation crisis at the Southern border.

    Juan P’s son, S.P., was born in the United States.  When S.P. was only a year old, Juan P. was deported and S.P. returned to Mexico with his father to live with his father and siblings. The following year, S.P. came to the United States to visit his mother in California.  Juan P. had daily contact with S.P. for several weeks until S.P.’s mother abruptly ceased contact.  Despite repeated attempts to contact the mother and find out his son’s whereabouts, Juan P. was unable to locate them.  Unbeknownst to Juan P., S.P.’s mother had moved to Arizona and had been embroiled in child welfare proceedings where she had been found an unfit parent. S.P. was placed in the custody of the Arizona Department of Child Safety (“DCS”) and ultimately with a foster family. 

    Juan P. only learned that his son was in foster care the next year and immediately contacted DCS to seek his son’s return to Mexico.  Shockingly, instead of returning the child as required by law, DCS filed a motion to terminate Juan P’s parental rights.  That motion was ultimately dismissed without a hearing, but the Arizona Court of Appeals twice denied reunification based on concerns that S.P. had bonded with his foster family and reunification with his biological family might cause him harm.

    Juan P. through his attorneys at the Maricopa County Office of the Public Advocate (“OPA”) filed a petition for review in the Arizona Supreme Court. UB FLC students Nathan Adams, Nell Fultz & Henry Lloyd, under the supervision of Clinical Teaching Fellow, Shanta Trivedi and Clinic Writing Instructor and Assistant Professor, Cheri Levin, researched and drafted a supporting amicus brief in conjunction with the ACLU of Arizona.

     The brief argued that, under the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause, Juan P. had a fundamental liberty interest in the care, custody, and control of his son.  The brief asserted that the state had no compelling interest in interfering with the parent-child relationship unless the parent was deemed unfit.  In this case, the lower court had explicitly found Juan P. to be fit on more than one occasion.  Thus, the state was unconstitutionally infringing on Juan P.’s fundamental right to parent his son.

    The brief also argued that, overall, the child welfare system disproportionately affects children of color and that this case was just one example of a larger systemic problem. Prejudice against minorities pervades the child welfare system, impacting which children are removed and which families are reunified. While this bias is often implicit, in this case it was overt and unapologetic. DCS had placed S.P. with a foster family who did not speak Spanish and repeatedly violated court orders requiring the child to receive Spanish lessons so that he could better communicate with his father and siblings in Mexico.  Worse, DCS had made disparaging remarks about Mexico on the record in arguing why S.P. should remain with his foster family.  The brief asked the court not to sanction such open and hostile discrimination.

    While the petition was ultimately denied, the students gained legal research and drafting experience and had a wonderful experience collaborating with a community partner.  Most importantly, they learned a larger lesson: family separation isn’t just happening at the border. Legal systems within this country separate families every day.  And Juan P., like the thousands of other parents separated from their children is continuing his fight.

  • 02 Sep 2019 1:32 PM | Jeff Baker (Administrator)

    The CLEA Elections Committee (Melanie DeRousse, Benjie Louis, Shobha Mahadev and Lynnise Pantin) is soliciting nominations through October 1, 2019, of individuals to serve on the CLEA Board starting in January 2020. This year, there are several Board positions open.  All positions require a three-year commitment.  I am attaching a memo prepared by the CLEA Elections Committee, which sets forth the activities and responsibilities of CLEA Board members in more detail.  Current CLEA members are invited to nominate themselves or other CLEA members as candidates for one of these open positions.  The committee also encourages "new clinicians" (defined as clinicians with fewer than 6 years of experience) to run for the CLEA Board.  Our Bylaws create a separate election process for candidates identified as "new clinicians," to ensure that the identified "new clinician" candidate who receives the greatest number of votes will be assured a place on the Board.

     

    The Committee strongly encourages CLEA members to nominate individuals from groups that are currently underrepresented within the leadership of various clinical institutions, including CLEA, the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education, and the Clinical Law Review.  The nomination process is simple.  Nominate yourself or someone else by contacting the chair of the CLEA Elections Committee, Lynnise Pantin, lynnise.pantin@law.columbia.edu. If you are nominating yourself, please include a paragraph or two about why you are running and a link to your faculty profile, which will be included with the election materials to be sent later in the fall.  If you are nominating another CLEA member, there is no need to include such a paragraph; the name alone will suffice, and the Elections Committee will contact the nominee for further information.  If you have less than six years of clinical teaching experience and wish to be identified as a "new clinician" candidate, or if you want to nominate a candidate for the "new clinician" category, please indicate that as well.

     

    Although the process of nomination is easy, our Bylaws set a strict deadline for receiving nominations.  All nominations must be received by October 1, 2019.  If you have questions about the CLEA Elections process, please feel free to contact Lynnise Pantin at lynnise.pantin@law.columbia.edu.


  • 20 Aug 2019 1:20 PM | Jeff Baker (Administrator)

    EVICTION CRISIS:  A CALL TO ACTION - by Judith Fox 

    Matthew Desmond is instrumental for bringing the devastating effects of eviction to the public in his award-winning book, Evicted.  The praise is well deserved.  While those of us in the clinical world have been all too aware of the issues, Desmond has given us platforms unlike any in the past.  People in power are now listening and we should make our voices heard. Matthew Desmond’s research had identified South Bend, along with Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, as one of three Indiana cities whose eviction rates placed them in the top twenty cities in America with the most evictions. This is the time for bold action.

    For the past twenty years, my clinic students and I have battled against a particularly bad slum lord in our community.  He was the ultimate Teflon-man.  He rented properties he did not own.  He rented properties that were not only in bad shape, many had been condemned by the city and issued with demolition orders.  Spurred on by the call to action, we decided it was time to put an end to these practices once and for all.  We set up a careful strategy, working side-by-side with local governmental entities and not-for-profits not only to stop this particular bad actor, but to combat the systemic issues that allowed him to continue for decades.  Our first target:  the lax Indiana laws that allowed this man to rent such deplorable properties.

    It is illegal in Indiana to rent a property that does not comply with housing codes, there is just no effective way to enforce that obligation.  My students and I worked with the city of South Bend to draft the Rental Safety Verification Program (RSVP), an ordinance that requires every rental home in South Bend to be certified safe.  My students brought their clients to hearings, testified to their experiences and met with local advocates, including landlords.  In the end, the ordinance passed.  We are now assisting families who have been displaced because the home they rented is not habitable. Our parallel efforts with the Indiana legislature were not so successful, but we will be back this year to try again.

    The second target of our efforts were the small claims courts that handle most of the evictions in our community.    Looking closely at the cases our targeted slumlord was filing, we noticed some peculiar things.  He did not own many of the parties he was renting.  The L.L.C. he was using, was not a valid company.  In one case, he used the L.L.C. of a competitor!  We thought this must be anomalous, considering this man’s history.  It was not.   We were appalled to discover how many landlords and rental companies were filing evictions using fictitious names.  We began challenging every eviction on standing grounds, and won.  As a result, the court instituted a local rule requiring parties in eviction to document their right to bring the case to court. Our slum lord has not brought an eviction case since.

    We had shown a light on eviction hearings and our new crop of Magistrates began to do the same.  They began to question why St. Joseph County allowed landlords to post their property as opposed to the cash bond required by State law.  This is significant because, in Indiana, there are essentially two proceedings in an eviction.  There is an immediate possession hearing which is quick and usually does not afford a tenant much of a chance to defend herself, followed more than a month later by a trial.  If someone is evicted in the immediate possession phase, even if they win at trial, they have already been displaced.  A landlord must post a bond at the immediate possession stage to reimburse a tenant wrongfully convicted.  A tenant can post an equivalent counter-bound to stay in the home pending trial.  The St. Joseph County courts were allowing the bond to be the rental property, completely precluding the posing of an equivalent counter-bound.  That practice too has ended.

    Our next target is the lax enforcement of licensing laws.  Federal and state law requires leasing agencies and others who buy and sell property or rent property they do not own to be licensed.  We discovered that almost none of them are.  Again, we have systematically began to file counterclaims using our state UDAP laws.  So far, these challenges have incentivized settlement in nearly every instance.

    We have made real progress in a year, but we are far from done.  This semester my students have teamed with the ACLU, Professor Florence Roisman at I.U. McKinney Law School and a Notre Dame Student chapter of the Roosevelt institute to do a court watch study of evictions across Indiana.  Anyone who has ever witnessed these hearings knows that the due process violations are mind-boggling.  We intend to shine a light on those practices.  The ultimate outcome will surely be a white paper and perhaps litigation.

    Eviction is an issue facing clients throughout our clinical programs.  Ann Juergens, Mitchell Hamlin Law School, recently reached out to the clinical community to suggest that we join forces across states to collaborate on solutions.  Ann and I will be giving the opening plenary at the Midwest Clinical Conference being held in October at the Michigan State Law School to formally begin this conversation.  This is no less than a call to action.  Whether you can come to Michigan in October, or simply want to send us an email, we welcome the entire clinical community to this issue.  The clinical community had a tremendous impact on homeowner’s rights during the foreclosure crisis.  It is time to turn our eyes to eviction.  As Michael Desmond has so eloquently said, eviction is not a symptom of poverty, it is a cause.  Clinical programs are uniquely placed to meet the challenge and make a dent in this crucial social justice issue.

    Judith Fox, Clinical Professor, Notre Dame.  Judith Fox and Linda Fisher, recently released  The Foreclosure echo:  How the Hardest Hit Have Been Left Out of the Economic Recovery (Cambridge, 2019).

  • 23 Jul 2019 3:20 PM | Jeff Baker (Administrator)

    By Anna G. Cominsky, Visiting Associate Professor of Law and Supervising Attorney at New York Law School

    Social justice is an integral part of Associate Professor of Law Gowri Krishna’s Nonprofit and Small Business Clinic at New York Law School. “I think of my clinic broadly as a social justice clinic,” Krishna says, “We support people and organizations that work towards economic, racial, social, and environmental equity.” Students in the yearlong Clinic provide transactional legal assistance to nonprofit organizations and small businesses. Under close faculty supervision by Krishna, students interview and counsel clients; plan and strategize on matters; research relevant questions of law; draft correspondence, memos and legal documents; manage client relationships; and negotiate agreements. Students take primary responsibility for work with multiple clients on a variety of matters such as entity formation, governance, contracts, intellectual property and regulatory compliance.

    The Clinic is comprised of seminar and fieldwork experience for both fall and spring semesters. During the fall semester, twice-weekly seminars focus on substantive areas of law, ethics and lawyering skills. Students prepare for and lead case rounds in which they discuss issues raised in and reflections on their fieldwork

    Clinic clients range from start-ups to more mature entities. Clients generally come from or benefit low-income communities, and all are unable to afford market rates for legal services. “We represent nonprofit groups and small businesses on non-litigation matters such as entity structure, formation, governance, contracts, leases, etc. The nonprofit organizations have varying missions that aim to improve the lives of and build power for the most vulnerable in some way, whether it is providing preschool programs for children in public housing, training immigrants for jobs in the culinary sector, or developing affordable housing policies (a sampling of this past year’s clinic clients).”

    The Clinic helps students explore and understand a new economic system, commonly referred to as the solidarity or cooperative economy, which is a movement to build a just and dependable economy. “Many of the small businesses we assist are ones that fit into the solidarity economy. They value democracy and cooperation and operate their business according to these principles. Transactional lawyers adapt existing legal structures and create new ones to meet their clients’ goal of prioritizing labor over capital. They counsel clients on governance structures that offer democratic participation by all of the workers in a business. This type of legal work is cutting-edge, requiring attorneys to think creatively and lawyer in novel ways. Law school clinics, nonprofit legal services, and private law offices should seek and embrace opportunities to support a more democratic economy.”

     This is a critical time in our history. Clinics, like Krishna’s, now more than ever have the ability to promote social justice by training future lawyers. The Clinic helps prepare students for work with organizational clients and introduces students to opportunities for transactional lawyers to further economic, environmental, racial and social justice. “My hope is that by getting to know their clients and their clients’ broader objectives, students will sharpen their critical thinking and creative lawyering skills and consider their role in effecting social justice.


  • 17 Jul 2019 9:00 AM | Lauren Bartlett (Administrator)

    Teaching Justice Webinar Series

    A project of CLEA's Best Practices Committee

    What is the Teaching Justice Webinar Series?

    Over the next year, the Teaching Justice Webinar series will feature a number of innovative faculty who will discuss new approaches to teaching justice in the classroom. Each session will draw on the wisdom of current resistance movement and examine its intersections with criminal justice, immigration policy, racial justice, economic justice, and international human rights, among other issues. 

    This series will explore the theory behind experiential faculty’s decision-making processes during an intense political movement, asking the question, “How do we show up as lawyers and teachers?” Presenters also hope to develop a shared vocabulary and a deeper understanding of what it means to be a lawyer, whether we consider ourselves movement lawyers, rebellious lawyers, or transformative lawyers. 

    Upcoming Webinar Sessions:

    The series will continue into the 2019-20 academic year. More details to come.

    Past Webinar Sessions:

    Teaching Racial Justice

    June 26, 2019 

    Taught by Jyoti Nanda (UCLA School of Law, Youth & Justice Clinic) and Mary Yanik (Tulane Law, Immigration Practicum and Senior Staff Attorney, New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice


    Teaching Justice through Misdemeanor Defense

    April 9, 2019 

    Taught by M. Eve Hanan (UNLV, Boyd School of Law), Robin Walker Sterling (Denver, Sturm College of Law), Rachal Moran (University of St. Thomas School of Law), and Anne Traum (UNLV, Boyd School of Law).


    Teaching Justice in the Context of Immigrants’ Rights

    December 6, 2018

    Taught by Annie Lai, Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, and Sameer Ashar, Vice Dean for Experiential Education and Professor of Law, UCLA. 

    Download the powerpoint presentation used during the December 6th webinar here.


    Shifting Power througTransformative Lawyering in Community Economic Development

    September 26, 2018 

    Taught by Renee Hatcher, Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the Business Enterprise Law Clinic at The John Marshall Law School, Alicia Alvarez (Michigan Law), Dorcas Gilmore (Univ. of Maryland Law), and Susan Bennett (American University – WCL).


    For questions about this series please contact the co-directors of the webinar series sub-committee, Laila Hlass lhlass@tulane.edu or Allison Korn korn@law.ucla.edu.

  • 03 Jun 2019 8:34 PM | Jeff Baker (Administrator)

    By Julia Hernandez and Joe Rosenberg

     

    Reimagining our clinical practice. After a short hiatus, CUNY Law School’s Disability & Aging Justice Clinic (a/k/a Elder Law Clinic), resumed its practice in the Fall of 2018 as an evening clinic open to both day (full time) and evening (part time) students. The clinic’s teaching team—Julia Hernandez, Joe Rosenberg, and Liz Valentin—reimagined the clinic in order to incorporate our varied expertise, recent projects, and also to respond to the current political climate in which marginalized and vulnerable communities are increasingly under attack.

     

    As a result of this process, we decided to highlight our work with immigrant families, and to connect the intersections among the seemingly disparate practice areas of aging, disability, family, and immigration law in order to assist families in harnessing the law for protection and self-determination. We also intentionally used technology to facilitate and advance our work, and prepare students for  “Lawyering in the Digital Age” through the use of a paperless case management system, video conferencing, and projects to create guided interview applications.

     

    Initial reading assignments at the intersection of our practice areas. To introduce the students to how we conceived of our clinical practice, we assigned several short readings (hyperlinked at the end of this post) to discuss during our first class to provide background on the following themes:

    • Race, poverty, & social justice
    • Aging, disability, guardianship, & decision making autonomy
    • Immigration, families, & guardianship of children
    • Technology, privacy, liberty, & the law 

    Building on a project created to support undocumented parents. CUNY Law’s Planning with Parents (PWP) Project was created in response to the “enhanced” immigration enforcement following the November 2016 Presidential election. The PWP Project’s primary focus is on helping undocumented parents understand their rights and options for protecting family members in case the parents are detained or deported. The PWP Project works with immigrant families at risk of deportation and/or separation through several methods of engagement with local immigrant communities. The project has served as a resource for information to advocates and families through know your rights workshops, legal clinics, trainings, and limited legal representation. 

     

    Goals of the project. Beyond providing a laboratory for skills development or apolitical legal services, our aim was for students to explicitly engage the political dimension of lawyering with those excluded from the dominant social structure—in this case, undocumented immigrants—and to center those politics in their work. We identified and drew upon the main goals of the PWP Project:

     

    • ·       Arming families with knowledge. At community events and individual meetings, students developed expertise with legal tools families can use to proactively protect against deportation and to plan for minor children or differently abled family members in the event of detention or deportation.

     

    • ·       Using advance planning tools to support family self-determination. Students counseled families and advocates on temporary care of children, designation of a guardian, New York power of attorney, and other legal forms, assisting with execution of these documents for families who chose to do so. Students used their knowledge and expertise to bring our legal clinics into the digital age: we abandoned our paper based intake and legal forms and transitioned to using digital interactive PDF documents that are populated with answers to questions. Based on this experience, students collaborated with a developer to create a guided interview application that can be used by advocates to inform clients about advance planning and create legal documents.
    •  
    • ·       Representing children to stabilize immigration status. The PWP Project involved family law, lifetime planning, and immigration law. Guardianship across a broad spectrum—for minors and for adults who need support in making decisions due to mental health, cognitive, and age related issues—was a common thread of the project. With our students, this led us to represent children in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases to obtain Legal Permanent Residency and protect against deportation. This work is done in local Family Courts and with USCIS, the federal administrative body for immigration benefits.  
    •  

    Making connections across practice areas. By situating the PWP Project in this clinic, we exposed students to the intersectional nature of legal problems politically and socially marginalized clients face and themes that bridge practice areas. We put our experience in preparing advanced planning documents traditionally used in the disability and aging context, to work for immigrant parents and their children through temporary care of children, designation of a guardian, New York power of attorney, and other legal mechanisms. We expanded our representation to immigrant minors, who needed a guardian appointed in Family Court in order to apply for permanent residence status. Students drew connections among the different systems of guardianship for children, differently-abled adults, and elders, and explored power structures at play, who the different types of guardianships benefit, and ways in which they empowered or damaged the family, both individually and collectively.  

     

    Understanding the meaning and utility of law through the lens of those subject to it. One of our goals as a clinic is to help students understand clients—and their broader communities—as authoritative interpretive bodies. This bi-directional feedback helps students broadly envision different legal realities together with their clients. We facilitated this by structuring our clinic to empower and center the experience of students (our “clients”) in order to model how we wanted students to relate to their clients. Part of our motivation was to maximize the learning experience of our students—most of whom worked during the day and had to make the time for law school. We organized our clinic seminars in ways that enabled us to teach theory, doctrine, and practice primarily through individual and group supervision and highly structured student-led rounds. We hope our clinical practice will guide students as radical lawyers for social justice in whatever practice area they pursue.

     

    Initial Readings Assigned for Clinic Seminar:

     

    Race, poverty & social justice

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/05/14/william-barber-takes-on-poverty-and-race-in-the-age-of-trump

     

    Aging, disability, guardianship, & decision making autonomy

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/09/how-the-elderly-lose-their-rights

     

    (Read pp. 10-17 until Findings & Recommendations): Beyond Guardianship: Toward Alternatives that Promote Greater Self-Determination For People with Disabilities (National Council on Disability, March 22, 2018)

    https://ncd.gov/publications/2018/beyond-guardianship-toward-alternatives

     

    Immigration, families, & guardianship of children

     

    Kaye, The Kids are Citizens. The Parents Are Undocumented. What Now? (L.A. Times, March 10, 2017)

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-kaye-mixed-status-la-families-20170310-story.html

     

    When Immigrant Detention Means Losing Your Kids (NPR, December 8, 2017)

    https://www.npr.org/2017/12/08/565426335/when-immigration-detention-means-losing-your-kids

     

    Lovett et al., Undocumented Parents Facing Deportation Can Name a Guardian for Kids Under New Law (N.Y. Daily News, June 27, 2018)

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-pol-immigrants-cuomo-savino-rozic-children-deportation-guardian-20180627-story.html

     

    Technology, Privacy, Liberty, and the Law

    What Do We Care So Much About Privacy?

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/06/18/why-do-we-care-so-much-about-privacy

  • 09 May 2019 2:16 PM | Jeff Baker (Administrator)

    Continuing CLEA’s series of posts on social justice issues in clinical legal education, here is a post from Eve Rips, Policy & Legislation Clinical Teaching Fellow at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

     

    Since its founding in 2010, the Legislation & Policy Clinic at Loyola University Chicago has partnered with the Statewide Youth Advisory Board (SYAB) for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to help translate the policy priorities of young adults in foster care into legislative or administrative change.  The SYAB is comprised of 14 to 21-year-old leaders from across Illinois who are interested in advocating at a state level for the wellbeing of their peers in the child welfare system.  Starting in 2018, Clinic students have been working with the SYAB to help the group build their own policy agenda.

     

    For students in the Clinic, the project presents a unique opportunity to get to learn first-hand about the issues that matter most to youth in the child welfare system.  Students who participate in the project are continually blown away by the maturity and thoughtfulness displayed by Youth Advisory Board members, and by the extent to which the youth leaders prioritize the needs of future generations in making decisions.  The project also provides students with the opportunity to learn by teaching: in reflecting on how best to convey complicated information to youth, Clinic students develop a deeper understanding of the material they themselves are learning.

     

    Social justice is often discussed as both a process and an end goal.  One of the biggest challenges for students working with the SYAB has been thinking through how to build a process that supports full and equitable participation of youth members.  In particular, the project has required careful deliberation about the role of law and policy experts in working with youth leaders.  Students have struggled with questions like:

           How can we present youth with data on topics they are interested in without inadvertently steering them toward our own vision for policy change?

           How should we move forward in helping youth leaders if the group wants to work on an issue that we think would be difficult to address through legislative or administrative change?

           What is the right balance between moving meeting agendas forward and giving youth leaders space to respond emotionally to topics that may be connected to personal trauma?

     

    Students built out a deliberate and intensive process for helping the SYAB set their policy agenda.  In Spring of 2018, students sat down with youth members to discuss questions and concerns about the laws and policies that impact the lives of youth in care.  Those conversations led to the creation of a Frequently Asked Questions Guide for the SYAB, which provided answers to top questions and identified areas where new laws or policies might be needed.  In Fall of 2018, students discussed the Guide with youth members, and led a brainstorm focused on asking “what would a better world look like?" Students used what they learned from that discussion to build a list of open-ended “questions to consider” for SYAB members, such as “how can the Department of Children and Family Services better ensure that youth preparing to age out of care can afford to live on their own?” and “what would youth want interactions with their guardians ad litem to look like, ideally?”  Finally, in Spring of 2019, students met several times with a small “working group” of SYAB members to workshop policy ideas and finalize a list of potential priorities that they brought back to the full Youth Advisory Board for a vote.

     

    Clinic students stressed that the project required high levels of flexibility and patience in learning how to engage meaningfully with young leaders. Meetings changed times frequently, students started researching one topic only to find youth attention shifted by the next meeting, and many felt that the project moved slowly.  When considering her experience working with the SYAB, Patricia Martin, a current 2L, reflected that, “things can take longer when you work with youth.  These are sensitive subjects that affect their peers - that sometimes meant we got off topic or struggled to think about when to cut off emotional discussions.  But I think this is reflective of how policy making happens in reality, especially when you’re working with others to narrow priorities to an agenda.”

     

    In the end, though, students felt the experience taught them a unique and critical set of skills related to how to be a thoughtful policy partner to populations with experiences very different from their own. Justin Sia, also a current 2L, explained, “the project helped me build my skills in empathy.  The more I met with the youth, the more I understood what works in connecting with this group.”  Ultimately, Sia reflected, “being an advocate involves working to get on the same page, stepping into their shoes, and thinking carefully about how to make information as accessible as possible.”

     

    We want to hear from you! Are you working on something exciting, innovative, or interesting that advances social justice goals? Know someone who is?

    Let us know. Email the Social Justice Issues Committee at derrick.howard@valpo.edu or jeff.baker@pepperdine.edu, and we may feature your work in an upcoming article.

     

  • 04 May 2019 10:48 AM | Lauren Bartlett (Administrator)

    We hope to see many of you in San Francisco for the AALS Clinical Conference in May 2019.  As you make your arrangements for the Conference, we hope that you will calendar and consider joining us for the following CLEA activities:

    -  The biennial CLEA New Clinician's Conference will be on Saturday, May 4th, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at Golden Gate University School of Law.

    -   Please join our new colleagues and catch up with old friends at the CLEA Reception on Saturday, May 4th, at 4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m, at Golden Gate University School of Law at 536 Mission St., San Francisco, CA.  Food will be served and drink tickets provided!

    - This year's CLEA Board and Open Membership Meeting will be on Tuesday May 7th, at 7:30 a.m.-8:45 a.m.  in Room Franciscan A, which is located in Tower 1 on the Ballroom level of the AALS CLinical Conference Hilton hotel in San Francisco. The meeting is open to all and is a wonderful way to learn more about the important work that CLEA is doing on so many fronts, and to pick up some cool swag.

    - In addition to the activities noted above, please plan to stop by and say hi at the CLEA Table at the conference.

  • 17 Apr 2019 9:51 AM | Lauren Bartlett (Administrator)

    2019 CLEA Award for Outstanding Advocate for Clinical Teachers

    The CLEA Awards Committee has selected the late Stephen J. Ellmann as the winner of the 2019 Award for Outstanding Advocate for Clinical Teachers. Over a highly distinguished law teaching career that spanned 35 years, Steve was the consummate scholar of clinical legal education, putting clinical legal scholarship on the map at a time when non-clinicians doubted its legitimacy. He engaged deeply with the process of lawyering and the ethical obligations of lawyers, writing a number of influential articles and co-writing a textbook on interviewing and counseling. As the founder and long-time convener of the Clinical Legal Theory Workshop at Columbia and New York Law Schools, Steve nurtured the development of scholarship by numerous clinicians, prodding presenters with his probing questions in a manner that was both incisive and supportive.  He served as an important mentor to countless colleagues. Steve was a critical advocate for expanding experiential education at New York Law School and was a key faculty player in the law school’s extension of long-term security of position to its clinicians. He was a multi-talented advocate and academic, producing two books on the fight for social justice in South Africa, the last completed shortly before his untimely death, and addressing issues of national security and emergency powers in post-9-11 New York City. Steve’s combination of brilliance, fierce advocacy, and personal kindness make him a worthy recipient of this award.

     

    2019 CLEA Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project

    The CLEA Awards Committee is thrilled to announce that the Legislation Clinic at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law is the recipient of the 2019 CLEA Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project.

    Menstrual products are necessities of life, but low-income women, girls, and other menstruators are often forced to risk unsafe and low-quality menstrual products or go without them entirely, especially if they are in schools, shelters, and correctional facilities. The problem is compounded by a lack of uniform policy. No comprehensive federal law guarantees access to quality, affordable menstrual products, and only a handful of state and local governments have addressed affordability and access to these critical supplies.

    In May 2018, the UDC Law Legislation Clinic captured this reality when it released a groundbreaking report, Periods, Poverty, and the Need for Policy: A Report on Menstrual Inequity in the U.S. The launch of the report marks the culmination of a two-year-long partnership between the Legislation Clinic and Bringing Resources to Aid Women’s Shelters (BRAWS), a nonprofit that distributes new menstrual products, bras, and underwear to schools and more than 45 shelters serving women and girls in the greater D.C. area.

    Since BRAWS retained the clinic in 2016, the partnership secured several reforms, including the repeal of D.C.’s “tampon tax,” funding for the D.C. repeal, and passage of a Virginia law mandating that correctional facilities provide free menstrual products to inmates. “Before the Legislation Clinic, we had made little progress with our advocacy efforts,” said Holly Seibold, BRAWS’ Founder and Executive Director. “We have accomplished extraordinary feats in such a short period of time. We were able to overcome insurmountable obstacles, such as a stigmatized topic, and became a credible, key player in public policy.”

    Honorable Mentions

    The CLEA Awards Committee received numerous outstanding nominations and determined that the following nominations merited an honorable mention.

    Albany Law School Immigration Clinic’s Detention Outreach Project. Over this past summer, over 300 immigrants who had come to the southern border seeking asylum were unexpectedly sent to Albany County Jail. Within hours, Professor Sarah Rogerson began pulling together an emergency legal response to assist the detainees in preparation for their credible fear interviews with ICE. This incredible effort drew the attention of the media and government officials, ultimately resulting funding for legal services at the jail. In the end, over ninety percent of the clients represented were given permission to apply for asylum in the U.S. Professor Rogerson’s leadership and the volunteer efforts of other Albany clinicians, Professor Mary Lynch and Professor Nancy Maurer, and staff members Julina Guo and Amanda Nazario, helped to change of lives of hundreds of asylum seekers.

    The Florida State University Public Interest Law Center’s Juvenile Solitary Confinement Project, led by Professor Paolo Annino and Fellow Caitlyn Kio, has applied a multi-faceted approach in advocating the abolition of placing juveniles in solitary confinement in Florida for the last five years. Using their own research and data, JSCP students engage with legislators, lobbyists, heads of state agencies, and other officials to reform Florida’s laws and policies to improve the lives of children. Through the hard work of the JSCP and its allies, juvenile solitary confinement reformation has been propelled from a non-starter in Florida’s legislature to a realistic statewide reform.

    The Fordham Law School Clinic’s “Driver Suspension” Project is a collaboration of the Federal Tax Clinic and Legislative Policy Clinic, led by Professors Elizabeth Maresca and Elizabeth Cooper. Over 24,000 New Yorkers had suspended driver’s licenses because of an inability to pay back taxes they owed. The two clinical professors joined forces (and clinics) to carve out a hardship exception to the NYS Tax Law in order to stop “punishing the poor.” For nearly two years, they and their students used direct legislative advocacy efforts to write a bill, get it sponsored, give oral testimony and speak with over 100 legislators to amend the statute. On March 31, 2019, the hardship exception was signed into law by the governor and the legislature.

    The Maryland Juvenile Lifer Parole Representation Project is a working group comprised of the University of Baltimore School of Law’s Juvenile Justice Project, the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law’s Innocence Project Clinic & Clemency Project, and the American University Washington College of Law’s Criminal Justice Clinic and interested non-profits and law firms. Clinicians at these law schools include Jane Murphy, Lila Meadows, Sandy Ogilvy and Binny Miller. The group came together to respond to a critical and unmet need for legal representation for people serving life sentences in Maryland’s prisons for crimes committed as juveniles. As of April 2019, the project has recruited 53 attorneys who are currently representing 29 clients sentenced to life as juveniles. Several clients have moved forward to the risk assessment phase of parole, a step required before release. Project attorneys are also responsible for the release on parole of two juvenile lifers, the first two since 1995.

    The Tulane Law School Women’s Prison Project serves incarcerated women trapped in a criminal justice system that first failed to protect them from violence, and later failed to consider the role of abuse in crimes they were accused of committing. Through clemency, parole, and post-conviction cases, Project students challenge Louisiana’s draconian sentencing for women who kill an abusive partner or co-offend under the duress of one. The Project also advocates for criminal justice reform on issues affecting incarcerated survivors of abuse through legislation, targeted litigation, education, and training.

    Please join us in congratulating all of these inspiring individuals and clinics. We hope to see you at the AALS Clinical Conference in San Francisco, where we will formally present the awards.

    Sincerely,

    The CLEA Awards Committee

    Anju Gupta (Co-Chair)

    Jane Stoever (Co-Chair)

    Praveen Kosuri

    Perry Moriearty

    Kele Stewart

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