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

  • 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


    Aging, disability, guardianship, & decision making autonomy


    (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)


    Immigration, families, & guardianship of children


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


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


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


    Technology, Privacy, Liberty, and the Law

    What 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 or, 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.


    The CLEA Awards Committee

    Anju Gupta (Co-Chair)

    Jane Stoever (Co-Chair)

    Praveen Kosuri

    Perry Moriearty

    Kele Stewart

  • 16 Apr 2019 8:07 AM | Lauren Bartlett (Administrator)

    CLEA will hold its New Clinicians Conference in San Francisco, CA, on Saturday, May 4, 2019, from 8:00am to 4:30pm.  The New Clinicians Conference will be held at Golden Gate University School of Law, a short distance from the AALS conference hotel.

    This full-day program is structured to provide important guidance from leaders in the field and then allow for group discussion after each topic. This format provides community-building and structure conversations on foundational topics like clinical teaching, supervision and feedback, a lay of the land, complexities in clinical teaching, critical and reflective practice and learning for transfer, difficult conversations, and assessment and grading.   After a full day of conversations, you may need a refreshment at the end of the day reception where you will meet fellow CLEA members and clinical colleagues. 

    The registration fee includes the CLEA’s New Clinicians Handbook (recently updated), a full day of programming, conversations and meals (breakfast, lunch, and a reception to follow).

    All 85 spots for this conference have been filled.  Thank you.

  • 01 Apr 2019 1:33 PM | Jeff Baker (Administrator)
    from Derrick Howard, co-chair for CLEA’s Social Justice Issues Committee

    If you stop random people on the street to ask how they define social justice, you are likely to receive varying responses that collectively reflect social justice is equal access to wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.  Within those broad parameters, social justice relates to the environment, race, gender, sustainable development goals, responses to humanitarian crisis, and other causes and manifestations of inequality. Digging deeper to further define this concept may also reveal that the victims of social injustice are everywhere, including our neighborhoods, our communities, and even our classrooms.  Victims of social injustice frequently include the poor, but also encompass individuals and groups who are socially, economically, culturally, politically, institutionally or otherwise discriminated against.

    Many law students attend law school with the intention of learning how they can use their knowledge and skills to assist marginalized groups and individuals, change current oppressive political and economic systems, and use legal strategies to advance social justice.  However, there are many factors that deter law students from truly achieving such lofty goals. These factors include: the culture and pedagogy of legal education that produces more aspiring corporate lawyers than attorneys dedicated to protecting the interests of underrepresented or indigent clients; rising tuition and debt that limit choices law school graduates have to pursue careers at nonprofits; and the subtle pressure law students feel to abandon the political and moral values that initially informed their decision to become lawyers.

    To shed light on the efforts of CLEA’s members to combat social injustice, CLEA’s Social Justice Issues Committee has been charged with “[disseminating] information regarding CLEA-supported social justice endeavors and projects as well as diversity issues."  Through this and future blogs we hope to attract volunteers to commit to writing a blog-style, op-ed-style, or newspaper-article-style post about an ongoing social justice project or resource available within CLEA's community. The Social Justice Issues Committee intends to roll out the posts we receive beginning in April 2019 and posting one every month.  We will post them on the CLEA website and share them through the CLEA social media platforms, the listservs, and the Clinical Law Prof blog. We hope we have a good impact, amplify some important stories, and build a foundation for future work.

    There are daily reminders in the media, social networks, and hallway conversations that the world is at a defining moment for collective action against social injustice.  We know anecdotally that there are many courses and programs offered at law schools around the country that promote opportunities for students to help others while learning valuable lawyering skills.  For example, earlier this year, students from The University of California, Berkeley, School of Law traveled to Mexico to provide pro bono assistance to members of the migrant caravan seeking asylum in the United States.  The legal services the migrants received included know-your-rights training, legal orientation workshops, and direct legal services. The students learned first-hand that the opportunity to be a practicing attorney brings with it the responsibility to use their skills to address social injustice.  Berkeley’s Pro Bono Program sponsored the trip in connection with a legal services nonprofit.

    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 or, and we may feature your work in an upcoming article.

  • 26 Feb 2019 2:39 PM | Lauren Bartlett (Administrator)

    CLEA's recent advocacy efforts with the ABA Legal Education Council have been highlighted in the following news articles:

    ABA Journal, ABA legal ed council delays decision on stricter bar passage standards (Feb. 22,  2019),

    ABA Journal, Legal ed groups ask ABA for more transparency while awaiting possible changes to bar passage standard (Feb. 22, 2019),

    The National Law Journal, Tougher Bar Pass Standard for Law Schools is Back on the Table (Feb. 21, 2019),

  • 21 Feb 2019 9:37 AM | Lauren Bartlett (Administrator)

    On February 20, 2019, CLEA submitted two joint advocacy memorandums, with the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) and others, to the Council on the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar

    In the first joint memo, CLEA and SALT urge the Council to increase transparency in its processes and engage in meaningful dialogue with all interested constituencies before making decisions that affect law schools and the legal profession.

    The second advocacy memo urges the Council to once again reject the proposed changes to Standard 316 relating to bar passage.  The second memo is co-signed by SALT, the ABA Coalition on Racial and Ethnic JusticeABA Commission on Disability RightsABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & ResponsibilitiesABA Commission on Sexual Orientation & Gender IdentityABA Commission on Women in the ProfessionABA Council for Diversity in the Educational PipelineABA Law Student DivisionABA Young Lawyers DivisionHBCU Law Deans Gary Bledsoe, John C. Brittain, Elaine O’Neal, John Pierre, & LeRoy Pernell and the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA).

  • 27 Jan 2019 4:18 PM | Lauren Bartlett (Administrator)

    CLEA has submitted a letter urging the Members of the Members of the American Bar Association House of Delegates to reject a proposed resolution to amend Standard 316.  If passed, the amendment would required nationally accredited law schools to demonstrate that 75% of the members of each graduation class who sat for the bar within two years of graduation. 

    CLEA joins SALT and others in our criticism of this proposal to amend Section 316.


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