News Blog

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

  • 21 Apr 2021 5:25 PM | Mike Murphy (Administrator)

    CLEA Statement of Anti-Racist Legal Education

    Nearly a year has passed since historic events and protests, domestically and internationally, brought renewed attention to racial justice and the discriminatory and racist practices ever present in our social structures. The Black Lives Matter protests called attention to the unjust and disproportionate treatment of Black and Brown individuals by law enforcement and other institutions. More recently, violent attacks have roiled Asian communities, which have already been the targets of violence and hateful rhetoric since the COVID-19 pandemic began. And publicized incidents at various institutions of higher learning have demonstrated the failure of these institutions to protect students from racism, even within the walls of academia. As law schools and faculties reflect on how to advance racial justice and equality, the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) calls upon law school administrations and faculties, including experiential faculty, to play an active role in reforming our institutions and transforming our communities to be anti-racist.

    An anti-racist curriculum is essential to disrupting and undoing racism in all its forms. Experiential courses are a critical component of any effective anti-racist curriculum, as such courses often allow for individualized student engagement, via legal work in local and marginalized communities, in order to promote social change and access to justice.

    But experiential faculty should not rest on traditional notions of clinical and externship pedagogy. We encourage experiential faculty to actively implement principles of anti-racist education into their teaching. As recent events have made clear, students from marginalized backgrounds have long been considered less qualified and competent than their peers by some faculty, including law faculty. Such treatment creates an inequitable and hostile educational environment that can impede students’ ability to learn and succeed. As experiential faculty, we are particularly concerned with how racist and biased views from faculty members can negatively affect student performance in experiential courses. The elimination of biases and the perception of biases in grading and assessment is particularly important in experiential courses, which do not generally employ blind or anonymous grading. Experiential faculty must therefore create an intellectual environment that promotes a climate of equity and inclusivity for all students.

    CLEA also encourages law schools to treat their experiential faculty equitably in terms of pay, job security, and status, as those faculty members are often disproportionately women and racial minorities. Inequalities between faculty members communicate to students, whether implicitly or explicitly, the relative value of those faculty. Moreover, even as women and racial minorities tend to be overrepresented in experiential faculties as compared to non-experiential faculties, law schools must do more to increase the diversity in their experiential faculties. As a recent essay by the CLEA Faculty Equity & Inclusion Committee demonstrates, the racial diversity of clinical faculty has remained stagnant in recent decades. The need for diverse faculties in experiential education is self-evident. Demographics matter, and any lack of diversity in experiential faculty negatively affects students, clients, and communities alike. CLEA has led efforts to diversify clinical and externship faculties and will continue that work in upcoming programming at the 2021 AALS Clinical Conference, in materials developed with the AALS Clinical Section Policy Committee, and in legal scholarship. We look forward to continuing this work alongside our colleagues in the coming months and years through specific recommendations aimed at improving the dismal demographical data that our research has identified.

    Law schools should take proactive steps to ensure that their faculty members work to eliminate biases and racism in their teaching and should support their students of color, who inevitably face disparate treatment and shoulder the burdens of responding to such incidents. They should also prioritize hiring faculty members that reflect the communities they serve in their experiential programs and treat those faculty members equitably. Despite the recent attention given to anti-racist initiatives, law schools have much work to do in their quest to develop a more equitable, just, and inclusive discipline and profession. CLEA looks forward to working with its members and other members of legal academia to further these goals.

    This statement was drafted and approved by the CLEA Faculty Equity & Inclusion Committee and approved by the CLEA Board of Directors.

    Click here for a PDF of this statement

  • 12 Apr 2021 6:17 PM | Anonymous

    The CLEA Awards Committee is once again soliciting nominations for its student awards. Beginning this year, in addition to the CLEA Outstanding Clinic Student or Outstanding Clinic Team Award, schools can honor students with the CLEA Outstanding Externship Student Award. The addition of the externship-focused award recognizes the valuable work for justice that law students do through externships and provides schools the opportunity to nominate an outstanding and self-reflective externship student for CLEA’s recognition. The awards are given annually at the completion of the academic year. 

    Criteria for the CLEA Outstanding Clinic Student or Team Award (One Award Per School) and the CLEA Outstanding Externship Student Award (One Award Per School)

    For the clinic award, each school must select one student OR one team enrolled in a law school clinic course. A team may be recognized if students work together as a team and it would be impossible or unfair to single out one team member for recognition. Schools may select one student or one team, but may not submit more than one nomination for the clinic award. For the externship award, each school may select one student enrolled in an externship course. 

    The criteria for the Clinic Student/Team and Externship Awards are:

    • Excellence in the field work component of the clinic/externship course determined by the quality of the student’s or team’s performance in assisting or representing individual or organizational clients or in undertaking advocacy or policy reform projects;
    • Excellence in the seminar component of the clinic course or externship determined by the quality of the student’s or team’s thoughtfulness and self-reflection in exploring the legal, ethical, strategic, and other pertinent issues raised in the particular clinic or externship;
    • For the Team award, the ability of the students to engage in effective collaboration; and
    • The nature and extent of the student’s or team’s contribution to the clinical community at the law school, legal community, or broader community, if relevant.

    Nomination & Selection Process:

    Each law school may nominate one clinic award recipient and one externship award recipient. The full-time clinical faculty at each law school with faculty who are members of CLEA are asked to nominate a single student or a team of students from their law school for the clinic award and a single student for the externship award. Recipient students must graduate during or after the academic year in which the award is given. Each school then submits the nominations to the CLEA Awards Committee. 

    The nomination deadline is May 31, 2021Please send nominations to the CLEA Awards Committee via this form(

    In the form, the clinical faculty of each school will be asked to: 

    • Indicate whether you would like to give the Clinic Student award or the Clinic Team award. 
      • For the Clinic Student award and the Externship Student Award:indicate the name of the student as you would like it to appear on the certificate.
      • For the Clinic Team award, indicate the names of the students as you would like them to appear on the certificate, separated by commas, or indicate the name of the team as you would like it to appear on the certificate. We appreciate formatting your response to this question in a manner that can easily be copied and pasted into the certificate. 
    • Indicate the name of the law school as you would like it to appear on the certificate.   
    • Provide a brief statement (no more than 250 words) of the reasons why each student or team meets the criteria for the award. 

    The CLEA Awards Committee will issue an electronic certificate, and the clinical faculty can print and present the award at the law school’s graduation ceremony or at some other appropriate time, including remotely, as determined by the clinical faculty. Note that, even for the Clinic Team award, each school will receive one electronic certificate (of which multiple copies can be printed for presentation to the students). Certificates will be issued on a rolling basis (please allow up to one week to receive the electronic certificate).

    If you have photographs of the award recipients receiving the certificates, please feel free to send pictures for posting on the CLEA website to the CLEA Communications Committee at

  • 01 Mar 2021 3:39 PM | Anonymous

    We are thrilled to announce that registration for the 2021 Virtual New Clinicians Conference is now OPEN! Please visit the conference website to register and learn more about the incredible programming of this entirely free conference that will be held online between May 17 - May 20th, 2021. 

  • 11 Feb 2021 3:54 PM | Mike Murphy (Administrator)

    CLEA's Best Practices in Pedagogy is pleased to announce the next session it its "Teaching Justice" webinar series. 

    Kicking the series off for 2021 will be Deborah Archer (NYU School of Law) and Kele Stewart (University of Miami School of Law) presenting Lawyering Across Silos for Community Equity on February 25, 2021, at 1pm EST/ 12pm CST/11am MST/10am PST. 

    Please register here:

    As ever, the goal for these sessions is to highlight new approaches to teaching justice in the classroom, drawing on the wisdom of current resistance movements.

    And - please mark your calendars for the following session in March:

    Teaching Justice through Abolition
    March 15, 2021
    12pm EST/11am CST/10am MST/9am PST, Alexis Hoag (Columbia Law School) 

    If you'd like to view past sessions, you can find them here:

  • 04 Feb 2021 6:23 PM | Jeff Baker (Administrator)

    We are excited to share that CLEA will again offer a FREE Virtual New Clinicians Conference on May 17-20, 2021.

    Like last year's conference, which brought together more than 250 attendees, the 2021 CLEA Virtual New Clinicians Conference will convene over four days. Each day's program will begin at 11:00 a.m. Eastern and conclude at 1:30 or 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Our varied conference format will include live and asynchronous webinar programming, concurrent sessions, and facilitated small group discussions. We also expect to offer some fun networking opportunities, including an evening social event during the week of the conference. Session topics will include:

    Foundations of Clinical Teaching: An Overview of Best Practices

    Racial Justice in the Classroom and in Practice

    Technology Innovations in Clinical Teaching and Practice

    Teaching Movement Lawyering

    Clinical Teaching and Practice During Crisis

    Pedagogy Deep-Dive: Clinic Design

    Pedagogy Deep-Dive: Externship Design

    Plus: Case Rounds, Supervision, and More!

    We will be back in touch later this month to share a detailed schedule and information for how you can register to attend the 2021 CLEA Virtual New Clinicians Conference. For now, please SAVE THE DATES (May 17-20, 2021) and do not hesitate to contact us or any of the CLEA New Clinicians Committee members identified below with questions.

    We look forward to “seeing” you in May for the 2021 CLEA Virtual New Clinicians!

    Best wishes,

    Lisa Martin and Danny Schaffzin

    On behalf of the CLEA New Clinicians Committee:

    Lisa Martin (University of South Carolina) (Co-Chair)

    Danny Schaffzin (University of Memphis) (Co-Chair)

    Jeff Baker (Pepperdine)

    Kathryn Banks (Washington University in St. Louis)

    Lauren Bartlett (St. Louis University)

    Christine Cerniglia (Stetson)

    Crisanne Hazen (Harvard)

    Rachael Kohl (Michigan)

    Praveen Kosuri (Penn)

    C. Benjie Louis (Hofstra)

    Nickole Miller (University of Baltimore)

    Sue Schechter (Berkeley)

    Shonda Sibley (Temple University)

    Anita Sinha (American University)

    Kele Stewart (Miami)

    Wendy Vaughn (Northern Illinois University)

  • 19 Jan 2021 10:49 AM | Anonymous

    2021 CLEA New Clinicians Virtual Conference

    May 17th - 20th, 2021

    Stay tuned for more details!

  • 03 Jan 2021 4:38 PM | Mike Murphy (Administrator)

    Please see over forty pages of new CLEA news in our CLEA Newsletter Winter 2020-2021. We hope everyone has a safe and smooth start to the new semester!

  • 09 Nov 2020 1:43 PM | Jeff Baker (Administrator)

    By Prof. Alicia Plerhoples

    Pivoting to Represent Nonprofits Confronting the Pandemic and Anti-Black Racism

    During a typical semester in the Social Enterprise & Nonprofit Law Clinic (SENLC) at Georgetown Law, law students represent D.C.-area social enterprises and nonprofits working in a range of fields, including social services, education, and international development. During this atypical semester, SENLC students have not only pivoted to virtual representation, they have also sharpened the focus of their representations to serve organizational clients who are responsive to the converging COVID-19 pandemic and our national reckoning with anti-Black racism. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the racial wealth gap, disparities in access to capital for Black-owned businesses, as well as workplace and educational inequities between a professional workforce who can work remotely and a working class who cannot.

    Recognizing that the pandemic is not only a public health crisis, but also an educational and economic crisis that has disproportionately impacted communities of color, and heeding our moral obligation to work to dismantle these inequities, this semester SENLC students are representing:

    (1) A newly-formed Virginia nonprofit that is providing college- and master-level tutors to low-income K-12 students to enhance their online education during COVID-19 school closures. The nonprofit is in its pilot phase and is operating with the support of Senator Warner (D-VA) who hopes to champion it nationally under the AmeriCorps umbrella;

     (2) A D.C. legal aid organization committed to saving the homes of D.C. residents through pro bono foreclosure legal defense;

    (3) A Virginia nonprofit focused on educational equity by providing scholarships and social-emotional learning resources to low-income college students;

    (4) A D.C. nonprofit whose mission is to empower, prepare, and advocate for Black women in the quantitative sciences, including economics, finance, and data sciences; and

    (5) A D.C. nonprofit offering free home ownership workshops and financial resources for teachers and other employees of D.C. Public Schools, 70% of whom are people of color and 50% of whom are Black, to allow educators to live where they work and build intergenerational wealth.

    SENLC students are representing these clients on grant funding, governance, contracts, liability protection, and compliance issues. The Clinic will continue to work with organizational clients confronting the economic and educational impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and anti-Black racism for the foreseeable future and has plans to work with mutual aid organizations and worker cooperatives in the spring semester.

  • 29 Oct 2020 3:03 PM | Lauren Bartlett (Administrator)

    The 2020 election for CLEA's Board of Directors and Executive Committee will open on November 1, 2020 and the voting will close at midnight on December 1, 2020.

    On November 1, you will receive an email with a link to the voting platform. We recommend that you remove “” from your email spam filters before November 1 to be sure that you receive your ballot.

    All CLEA Members in good standing are eligible to vote. If you are not yet a CLEA Member and you would like to be, please visit our website at to become a member. All new member registrations must be completed by close of business Friday, October 30, 2020 in order to be able to vote in the 2020 election. If you are not sure about your membership status, please contact Gautam Hans ( and Kathryn Banks (, Co-Chairs of the Membership Committee.

    In advance of the opening of the Board elections, please review the candidate’s statements and bios linked here.

    This year’s slate of candidates for the CLEA Board are as follows:

    Chante Brantley

    Davida Finger

    Pedro Gerson

    Crystal Grant

    Llezlie Green

    Melina Healey

    Ronnie Hochbaum

    Anna Kirsch

    Gowri Krishna

    Tameka Lester

    Michael Murphy

    Jenna Prochaska

    Paul Radvany

    Melissa Redmond

    Rebecca Robichaud

    Shanda Sibley

    Sarah Horn Wolking

    And the nominees for the Executive Committee are:

    Secretary: Jodi Balsam

    Co-Vice Presidents: Caitlin Barry & Shobha Mahadev

    Thank you and we look forward to CLEA’s election season!


    The CLEA Elections Committee

    Lauren Bartlett, St. Louis University School of Law

    Melanie DeRousse, University of Kansas School of Law

    Kendall Kerew, Georgia State University College of Law

    Lynnise Pantin, Chair, Columbia Law School

  • 28 Oct 2020 1:11 PM | Jeff Baker (Administrator)

    By Melissa Toback Levin, Lewis Steel Racial Justice Fellow, New York Law School

    The Racial Justice Project (“RJP”) is a legal advocacy organization housed in New York Law School dedicated to protecting the constitutional and civil rights of people who have been denied such rights on the basis of race, and to increasing public awareness of racism and racial injustice in, among other areas, the areas of education, employment, political participation, economic inequality, and criminal justice.  The RJP’s work includes impact litigation, appellate advocacy, legislative advocacy, training, and public education.  Professor Penelope Andrews and Professor Alvin Bragg co-direct the RJP; they are aided by post-graduate fellows and students in the Project’s work. 

    Recently, the RJP has been keenly focused on efforts to promote police transparency and accountability as well as efforts to end the criminalization of poverty.  The following provides an overview of two RJP matters:

    Carr v. de Blasio

    In late August 2019, the RJP filed a petition on behalf of Eric Garner’s mother, sister, and police accountability advocates against the Mayor of New York City, the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) Police Commissioner, and other New York City officials.  The petition was brought under Section 1109 of the New York City Charter, a “sunlight” provision which allows a judge to preside over a summary inquiry at which City employees and officers can be made to testify about violations or neglect of duties.

    The respondents moved to dismiss the petition.  On September 24, 2020, Justice Joan A. Madden granted the majority of the petition for a summary inquiry. The Court granted the petition for a summary inquiry with respect to alleged violations and neglect of duty in connection with: (1) the stop, arrest, and use of force against Mr. Garner; (2) the filing of false official documents concerning Mr. Garner's arrest; (3) the leaking of Mr. Garner's alleged arrest history and medical condition in the autopsy report; and (4) the alleged lack of medical care provided to Mr. Garner by police officers. 

    The respondents filed a notice of appeal and are seeking to invoke an automatic stay.  If the inquiry proceeds, Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Police Commissioner O'Neill, among others with knowledge or information concerning the four areas of inquiry, will be required to testify and a transcript of their testimony will become a public record.

    In addition to the lawsuit, the RJP submitted a Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”) request to the NYPD and the Civilian Complaint Review Board (“CCRB”) relating to Mr. Garner’s arrest and death.

    The lawsuit and FOIL request were part of a broader campaign to repeal New York State Civil Rights Law Section 50-a, which provided protections for police officer personnel records and had been interpreted in an overly broad manner.  (The City had pointed to Section 50-a as a basis for the lack of key disclosures concerning Mr. Garner’s death.)  In October 2019, New York Law School Professor Alvin Bragg testified at a hearing before the New York State Standing Committee on Codes on the repeal of Section 50-a on behalf of the RJP.  On June 12, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an act to repeal Section 50-a into law.  As a result, the public has access to police disciplinary records as they are considered “presumptively open for public inspection and copying” under New York’s Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”).  One week after the law’s repeal, the City pledged to release all disciplinary records – this is now the subject of litigation brought by law enforcement unions, including the Police Benevolent Association.

    Driving While Black and Latinx: Stops, Fines, Fees, and Unjust Debts

    In February 2020, the RJP produced a report entitled “Driving While Black and Latinx: Stops, Fines, Fees, and Unjust Debts.”  The report examines the disparate impact that a law which authorizes driver’s license suspensions for non-payments of traffic debt and nonappearances in traffic court has on communities of color.  It notes that between January 2016 and April 2018 New York issued nearly 1.7 million driver’s license suspensions for traffic debt and highlights how the practice unduly targets and harms communities of color, forcing people to choose between, on one hand, stopping driving and not being able to get to work or, on the other hand, risking criminal charges by driving on a suspended license.

    The report was utilized in a campaign to help secure the passage of the Driver’s License Suspension Reform Act, which passed both chambers and now awaits Governor Cuomo’s signature. 


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