Thursday, June 15, 2017
The AALS Section on Africa is pleased to announce a Call for Papers from which 2-3 additional presenters will be selected for the section’s program to be held during the AALS 2018 Annual Meeting in San Diego on “Children’s Rights and Responsibilities in Africa.” The program is co-sponsored by the AALS Section on Children and the Law and the AALS Section on International Human Rights. The call for papers seeks authors of published or unpublished papers that consider the rights and responsibilities of children on the African continent.
Background: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the history of the world. A look at the drafting history of the CRC indicates that African countries were not proportionally represented in the drafting process, arguably due to a lack of resources and a dearth of diplomatic representatives in post-colonial Africa. Although some feared that the North-South divide in the drafting process would prevent the universal acceptance of the treaty, the fact is that the continent was strongly represented among the first countries to sign and ratify the treaty.
African countries did not stop there. They criticized the CRC for not going far enough in protecting children’s rights and taking into consideration African cultural values (such as the notion that children also have concurrent responsibilities) and issues, such as apartheid, child marriage, child labor, child trafficking, children in armed conflict, and harmful cultural practices. African nations converted this criticism into the first regional children’s treaty, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Africa also is home to the first nation, the Republic of South Africa, to include many of the principles of the CRC and the African Children’s Charter in the nation’s constitution.
Despite the leadership that the African continent has offered in developing an international legal framework for children’s rights and responsibilities, the consequences of colonial occupation has led to a perception that children’s rights have not been recognized in many areas, ranging from gender discrimination to education to economic security and more. This call for papers is intended to advance the dialogue related to both the creation and fulfillment of children’s rights and responsibilities, especially as they relate to children in Africa.
Thus, the Section on Africa invites any full-time faculty member of an AALS member school who has authored a published or unpublished paper, is writing a paper, or is interested in writing a paper on this topic to submit a 1- or 2-page proposal to the Chair of the Section by August 31, 2017. The Executive Committee will review all submissions and select proposals for presentation as part of our AALS 2018 Program.
Please share this call for papers widely and direct all submissions and questions to the Chair of the AALS Section on Africa:
Professor Warren Binford
Willamette University College of Law
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
I registered for the conference as a bit of continuing education. In the Pepperdine Community Justice Clinic, our students and I counsel nonprofits and NGOs in corporate and policy matters, so I seized an opportunity to learn more about the nonprofit ecosystem, the market, and its trends. The 501(c)onference is a gathering of world-class nonprofits and nonprofit leaders in Southern California, to exchange ideas, network, and improve collaborations. Like most lawyers and most academics I spend most of my time with other lawyers and academics, so it was nice to break away and see the work from the clients’ point of view. (This had the double benefit of new insight for the great boards on which I get to serve: Counsel to Secure Justice, Medicine for Humanity, The Abundant Table, and the Clinical Legal Education Association.)
The time away from the ivory silo was refreshing and useful, and that was my first professional lesson for the week. All we lawyers should spend time with our clients in their markets, especially when they do not need us. We learn more about them so can serve them better. All we academics should spend time in the fields we study and teach to ground our scholarship and classes in lived experience.
At this brief conference, a rising energy and resilient optimism pervaded the conversations. Everyone acknowledged the conflict and tension of our present political and social anxieties. People presented bleak, striking data about the economy, communities, and policies. Speakers identified troubling trends rooted in systems and cycles, but there was little despair in the room. Instead, there was a calm, fierce, determined air to stay at work in new and better ways. Plenty of people spoke of resistance, but it is a resistance against division, inequity, and deceit.
That spirit infused righteous talk of alliance. We talk a lot about collaboration, but this deeper discussion of alliance meant more than projects in common. It meant more than MOUs. Alliance calls for mutuality, humility, and shared burdens in a righteous cause. Even as these organizations may vie for the same grants and funders, they were all speaking to the need to join forces in defense of our social contracts and the community ligaments than bind us together.
Those conversations invited talk of innovation and new ideas to fund and sustain organizations and their work. Some brilliant panelists discussed the emerging trends of social-impact investing, B-Corps, pay-for-performance, and other market-driven social enterprises. This is an important new trend that we must explore and improve. No one does this work for the money, but money is necessary for the work. Angel investors, equities, bonds, and other start-up financing mechanisms promise new means of big money for socially responsible enterprises who can find the right mix of markets and economic development. Some of us, however, had good counterpoint discussions about the temptations of profit and the reality of issues that defy markets. Sometimes folks can get rich while doing great good in the world. Very often, social needs and solutions will not respond to market fixes and will require the generosity of donors and the tenacity of scrappy activists whose work is not measured in profit.
These conversations stood in stark contrast to a meeting of Black Lives Matter that my family and I attended earlier in the week. BLM intentionally and explicitly is not part of the traditional nonprofit system or economy. As it fights for empowerment and reform, it takes a radically different, disciplined strategy. The nonprofit conference was in gleaming, corporate quarters in spaces built for teaching and learning. BLM met in a well-worn, hard-working community center covered in local art, a place with sharp edges made warm, hospitable, and loving by a fierce commitment to inclusion and dignity. BLM opts for deep, patient community organizing and development built on relationships, teaching, dialog, and amplified voices. It is not profitable and does not seek to be.
And this contrast informs another great lesson for me this week. I believe in All-of-the-Above, each of these extraordinary people and organizations seeking the light in their respective worlds and calling others to join their alliances. From the veteran community organizers in Inglewood to the rich foundations Santa Monica, from the scrappy new nonprofit laboring without an office to the global NGOs who can call on millions, their work all bends toward the dignity of every person. To seek the dignity of the oppressed and to empower the poor is to love everyone, including ourselves. We need them all.
To empower the vulnerable people on the margins of our society and economy is to strengthen all the bonds on which we all rely. This morning, we saw again the great and awful cost when we allow those bonds to fray and snap. While we gathered in conference, a man took intentional, deadly aim at our representatives, our Congress. He chose a moment when they were actually engaged in friendly, healthy, democratic, bipartisan, American government, even in an era of harsh polarization and distrust. Just hours later, another person unleashed death on co-workers in another workplace shooting that we can only ever seem to call senseless.
This violence is a failure of many things, and we must own them together if we going to resist the breach of our social contract, our commitments and reliance on each other. If we cannot trust each other, then the center will not hold.
So I end this reflection returning to work as a teaching lawyer (or a practicing professor). Our communities and commerce depend on the rule of law. The rule of law depends on our social contract, these deep commitments to each other. These commitments depend on trust, and trust depends on dignity. Everyone's dignity depends on the dignity of everyone else, and that mutuality is under assault.
Fundamentally, this must be the work of lawyers. We must guard and defend the conditions necessary to thrive in liberty and peace.
So we must teach our students accordingly. Violence is a failure of our morality and care. Rampant deceit is a failure of our discipline to hold ourselves accountable. Injustice thrives when our alliances degrade. The Republic will fall when we abandon our mutuality. This is the jurisprudence we need to teach and study. This is how community emerges from chaos.
Thursday, June 8, 2017
The National Lawyers Guild Los Angeles (NLG-LA) will honor Prof. Annie Lai at its Annual Awards Banquet on Sunday, June 11.
The co-director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic (IRC) at UCI Law, Prof. Lai teaches and practices in the areas of civil and immigrant rights. Among the many matters that Prof. Lai has worked with students on in the IRC is a constitutional challenge to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s worksite immigration raids in federal district court in Arizona. The IRC is serving as lead counsel for the plaintiffs.
More recently, Prof. Lai helped draft a letter, signed by 292 legal scholars, addressed to President Donald Trump that asserted the President’s threat to pull federal funding from sanctuary cities is unconstitutional. Prof. Lai frequently partners with grassroots organizations on local policy initiatives—she was part of the effort to obtain a far-reaching sanctuary policy in the City of Santa Ana and clarified federal funding concerns along the way. Together with students in the IRC, Prof. Lai provided comment to the Santa Ana City Council regarding a legal defense fund for detained immigrants facing deportation.
“I feel incredibly honored and humbled to receive a recognition like this from the National Lawyers Guild,” said Prof. Lai. “We are living in a time when bold and creative lawyering for social justice is not just an ambition, but an imperative. The National Lawyers Guild is an organization that has long stood for those very values.”
“We are thrilled to be awarding Professor Lai, who exemplifies everything the Guild looks for in movement lawyers: someone who has committed their career to supporting the movement, vindicating the rights of the people, and sharing their passion and knowledge to uplift other advocates,” said Ameena Mirza Qazi, executive director of the NLG-LA.
The National Lawyers Guild seeks to unite lawyers, law students, legal workers and jailhouse lawyers to function as an effective force in the service of the people, to the end that human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests.
The NLG-LA’s annual awards banquet will celebrate the guild’s 80th anniversary and will take place on Sunday, June 11, at 5:00 p.m. at the Pasadena Hilton Hotel. For more info, please visit nlg-la.org.
Assistant Dean for Communications
Phone: (949) 824-3063, mobile (949) 945-4506
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Public Relations Manager
Phone: (949) 824-0385
Email address: email@example.com
Thursday, June 1, 2017
To steal from the words of our most recent AALS Clinical Conference theme, these are definitely tumultuous times. For me, it is a daily battle to read the news and not go back to bed. Stories of clinicians working to make a difference in their communities both in and out of the law school environment, provide inspiration and motivation to keep fighting another day.
Though the ending of this chapter is not yet written, Antoinette Sedillo Lopez is already an inspiration. After more than twenty years as a clinical teacher and scholar, she is now running for Congress in her home state of New Mexico. Below, in her own words, you will find a piece of her story.
1. Along with having been dean of your law school, you have many years of clinical teaching experience; how has clinical teaching informed your decision to run and why is it important to you to run for office now? (correction, I was associate dean not dean--ASL)
As a clinical teacher, I worked on many of the issues and challenges our communities in New Mexico are facing. Our work was rooted in helping the overlooked and underserved communities of Central New Mexico. I have had the privilege of meeting with tenants of run-down trailer parks who, among their numerous grievances, have been deeply impacted by the quality of their living environment and have few remedies. I worked with students on devastating cases where clients who were in abusive situations had few options. I have met mothers who lost a day’s pay each time they had to go to court on their restraining order, custody petition, or divorce. I have met with families devastated by the effects of a sawmill on the air quality in their community.
My involvement with community while I was at the law school culminated with an encounter with a woman begging on the street in Guanajuato, Mexico. I gave her a bag of tamales; she looked at me with deep gratitude and told me that she would share them. I discovered that she was undocumented in Mexico, from Guatemala. She had fled an abusive home life and was happier living on the streets in Guanajuato than she had been in Guatemala. My perspective changed. I felt a strong need to get involved more deeply with my community and to help confront challenges facing survivors at the intersection of immigration, poverty and domestic violence.
I retired from the law school at the University of New Mexico after 27 years of law teaching to become the executive director of Enlace Comunitario, a non-profit that serves all victims of domestic violence and conducts outreach to Latino immigrants in Central New Mexico. I was very gratified and satisfied with our progress until the current administration came into power. In one election, I knew that everything had changed for our communities. The terror among all immigrants coupled with the activities of ICE after the President’s Executive Order and the Director of Homeland Security memo purporting to roll back limitations on the discretion of ICE officials was alarming. Using my clinical skills, I worked with allies to try to convince the New Mexico Supreme Court that it has inherent authority to protect access to justice. I co-founded a group called “Defend Our Neighbors” to advocate for the rights of all who might be affected by the current administration.
These advocacy roles were noticed by others who encouraged me to amplify my voice for others and to use the skills, knowledge and values I had developed as a clinical law teacher in Congress. I am very excited by the opportunity to serve in Congress at this time.
2. What skill(s) or lesson(s) from your clinical teaching do you think will be most applicable to life as a Congresswoman?
As my last academic project before I left law teaching, I worked with Deborah Maranville, Lisa Bliss, and Carrie Kass to co-edit the book, Building on Best Practices: Transforming Legal Education in a Changing World. The book brought innovative and effective law teachers and administrators from around the country to discuss how legal education should change to adapt to changing realities. The book stressed developing goals and outcomes and focusing on teaching and programmatic strategies for students to learn to achieve those outcomes. My biggest take-away from 27 years of law teaching and various roles in administration is based on those two large points. As a congresswoman, I will be open to addressing changing realities and I will be focused on fighting for the outcomes we need for our communities to thrive: community and economic development, health care for all, and social justice and equality.
3. How will your clinical experience help you better serve the needs of constituents? Advocate for them in Congress?
Throughout my clinical experience, I have had the chance to work with people from all walks of life. I have developed a passion for problem- solving and bringing people together around a cause. As a clinical teacher, I have opened doors to public service for students and opportunity to the clients that we served. My approach emphasizes accessibility, which will produce effective constituent services. As an advocate, I will not simply offer sound bites, but will work to deliver progress on the many causes I’ve worked on throughout my career. I will be a powerful voice in Congress for the under-served communities I have worked with, sharing the stories I have learned and bringing the force of the law, facts, and data to bring about change.
4. The current political climate is challenging. What parts of clinical teaching will help you make difficult decisions in Congress and help you explain the issues and your decisions to your constituents?
The challenging political climate is one of the reasons why I am running. After years of working with communities who do not have a voice in the policy prescriptions that are intended to solve the problems that afflict them, I feel now is the time to best use my skills and training to champion this community in Washington. My deep knowledge of the Constitution, federal laws and public policy, and our community is an asset in standing up in opposition to the current administration’s backwards policies. Whether it be the rollback of our civil liberties, access to health care or climate change policies, this administration has chosen ignore the people’s voices. I will communicate well and often with my constituents so that they are always aware of how federal issues will impact our community and will constantly seek their input on the issues.
5. What is one piece of advice you wish someone had shared when you were beginning your teaching career?
Prepare yourself to pursue your passions in teaching, in scholarship and in service and everything will fall into place. Even if you don’t achieve the ultimate goals you seek, the journey will be fascinating and rewarding.
6. Tell us a little about your path. When you were a law student or while you were teaching clinics would you have imagined someday running for Congress?
My story starts even earlier than law school. I told my high school counselor that I was interested in the law. He replied, “That is great, because you are so smart, you will make a great legal secretary.” I have definitely exceeded the expectations prescribed to me as a woman, as a Latina, and as someone from a rural, working class community in New Mexico. I wake up every morning in awe that I served as a law professor for 27 years, eight of which I spent as Associate Dean, and as a nonprofit executive director for three, and that today I have the privilege of running to represent New Mexicans in Congress. I am proud to have had a career that has prepared me with the knowledge, skills and values to do a great job for my home state.
7. What would you suggest to someone who wants to make a difference in their community but isn’t in a position to run for office? How can other clinical teachers best help, including those without live-client clinics?
I believe all of us need to be engaged and informed. We need to use the privilege of our education (formal and informal) and our positions, whatever those positions might be, in service of those without privilege. Clinical teachers can insure that students see the social justice implications of the work they do. They can help students understand the “foot of oppression” that impacts people of color, low income individuals, and those with little power in our society. Through these lenses, students can use their talents and their resources to address the problems of poverty and inequality while in clinic and after they leave the law school.
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Sunday, May 28, 2017
This Fall semester, in addition to teaching my Penn State Law clinical students, I will teach Professional Responsibility. When I was in law school, if memory serves, it was called "Legal Ethics". I really wish I could reclaim that course name.
Professional Responsibility is the industry standard now--I get it. The codes of conduct in most states use some version of that language in their titles. Pennsylvania, for example, has Rules of Professional Conduct, not Rules of Legal Ethics.
But the casebook for my course is called The Law and Ethics of Lawyering (my own emphasis added). And it happens to be the same casebook used in the Legal Ethics course I took long ago and far away, albeit a new edition. I know that for sure because I saved that book. It's sitting on my office bookshelf beside the new casebook I'll soon pore over to prepare to teach the course for the first time. So what? Why am I fixated on the word "ethics" as it relates to this course?
I think our students could benefit from a little more education on ethics. Knowledge of the sources and norms about ethical obligations, a humanistic sense of right and wrong, is fundamental to the legal profession. We owe it to future lawyers to engage them in the study of the underpinnings of our profession's ideals about the outer limits of acceptable human behavior and our systemic regulation of it. To my mind, "professional responsibility" conceptually strikes me as just a few shades lighter than "malpractice avoidance". We must be better than that. Lawyers must not simply avoiding bad behavior. We must cultivate and thus deeply understand good--ethical--behavior.
It's a bit late to rename my course, but I do plan to re-brand it, class by class and student by student. Maybe I'll discover this is is semantics; a distinction without a difference, once I'm engaged in the course itself. Stay tuned . . . .
Monday, May 22, 2017
Pepperdine University School of Law
Director of Externships and Pro Bono Programs and
Adjunct Professor for Academic Success and Bar Preparation
The Director of Externship and Pro Bono Programs responsibilities will include direction of the School of Law's externship program, including extensive student advising, teaching in diverse modes and settings, extensive communication with field placements and supervisors, and records management. The pro bono program direction will involve significant student advising and counseling, recruiting and creating pro bono placements and opportunities, and records management. These responsibilities are anticipated to comprise approximately one-half to three-fourths of the successful applicant's total responsibilities.
The Adjunct Professor for Academic Success and Bar Preparation responsibilities will involve teaching responsibilities and student office hours in the law school's academic success and bar preparation courses, and additional responsibilities for developing, coordinating, and implementing a program that supports the School of Law's commitment to academic success in law school and success on the bar exam. These responsibilities are anticipated to comprise approximately one-fourth to one-half of the successful applicant's total responsibilities.
The successful applicant will report to the School of Law's Director of Clinical Education and to the Associate Dean for Student Success, will work closely with the Clinical Program Manager, will closely direct and monitor more than 100 students per term in externships and pro bono practice, and will supervise ASP and Bar Exam Workshop student teaching fellows.
Friday, May 19, 2017
I’m struggling. But in truth, it’s been that way for quite some time, since foot touched ground in this land of wood and water.
They say there are different Jamaicas, and I no doubt know this to be true. Aptly capturing this sentiment, photographer and creator, Peter Dean Rickards wrote “We are Jamaicans living within and without cultural control. We are at once proud nationalists and critics of our country of origin. A country known for its extremes. A place packed with originality and creative energy that continues to flourish despite the current socio-political state that has removed the personal pride of many. An island filled with beauty unsurpassed and ugliness that would make a rat puke.”
In all honesty, I’m not sure which Jamaica I will leave with in my mind.
The paradox of life here is so astounding -- splendor always brushing up against pain. Fear hovering on the periphery, worry right inside the line of sight; eclipsed momentarily when depth returns to breath and light comes pouring through. Joy heightened by anxiety. Which of these is more genuine? Is one real simply because the other exists? Tangibility through co-occurrence?
Sometimes I’m surprised to learn the new contours of a mind that I believed I knew so well. I thought I had managed my fear only to realize that the fear had often managed me. Ugliness is sneaky that way. Making life myopic. Narrow. Tight. Restricting the range of possibilities imaginable. Causing me to only see a landscape of corruption, chaos and systems failing to function. Moments when I can only focus on Dennis’ nephew, shot ten times in front of a KFC; the grit, filth and cacophony of ramshackle tin neighborhoods; the boy in the taxi cab, shot on his way to school, whose killer could not be prosecuted for lack of evidence; the electric current surging through a frenzied crowd as they run toward and not away from the fresh blood that flows in the street after a police officer was killed with his own gun; the sounds of a neighbor yelling for help as she’s robbed at knifepoint at 8:30 in the morning on her walk to work; the strain in a young man’s face as he momentarily opens to say “Miss, I’m tired of the violence;” a newfound ability to judge gunshot proximity by sound.
How can we continue standing inches from such a precipice?
Sometimes I’m surprised to feel the scowl affixed to my face instinctively smooth into a smile. I thought I had forgotten how to dance only to realize my feet were already moving long before my mind even registered the beat. Beauty is sneaky that way. Making life grander. Expansive. Sweeping. Opening a range of limitless possibilities. Allowing me to see scenes of warmth, fecundity and systems of thriving interconnection. Moments when I can only focus on the sweet, juicy, fibrous taste of an Otaheite apple; the crisp, shocking thrill of sliding into a frigid waterfall after a long, arduous hike; the laughter of boys imitating lawyers, mastering and wielding concepts of cross examination; the pastel painted sky of sunrise across the valley; feeling like Belle walking through the streets of her hometown, waving, smiling and speaking mawnin’ mawnin’ to security guards patrolling, men with machetes for gardening and women carrying bags of fresh fruits and veg; the sound of voices softly singing along anytime music is playing; a discussion of best practices shared among a room full of community volunteers, peacemakers.
How can we drink such goodness into the soul?
In all honesty, I’m not sure which Jamaica I will leave with in my heart.
I struggle because the centrality of this duality is part and parcel of life here, I struggle because the gnawing guilt of privilege that allows some measure of escape, I struggle over all that I will miss. I struggle because this reality has existed long before my arrival and will remain long after I am gone.
I’m struggling. But in truth, it’s been that way for quite some time, since foot touched ground in this land of wood and water.
Friday, May 12, 2017
Friday, May 5, 2017
From Prof. Chris Zawisza upon her retirement from the University of Memphis:
As you make your way to Denver, I wish you a very successful conference. I won’t be joining you this year, unfortunately. I am retiring after 40 years of practicing law and 20 years of teaching clinically. This community has been a source of strength, ideas, inspiration, support, and fellowship during years of calm, years of change, and now tumultuous times. As I reflect back on my times as a social justice advocate, I realize that our community has weathered tumultuous times before. Some of us remember the Vietnam era with the tear gas, the riots, the demonstrations, and the soul searching about our place in the world. I remember well the debates about working inside the system or working outside the system and what each entailed. I remember choosing to work inside the system by taking a job as a Management Intern with the then Department of HEW (now HHS) and then sitting idly at my desk watching the Nixon impeachment hearings. At the very least that era motivated me to go to law school and also gave me the savings to pay for law school! I remember our anxieties and fears as the Legal Services Corporation funding was substantially cut during the Reagan years along with other safety net programs. And I remember well having to find a new home when Congress prohibited legal services attorneys from doing class actions and legislative advocacy. That era led me to a home in clinical legal education which has been a true joy!
As a community, we have found that hard times bring out the best in us. We summon up our creativity, courage, and resilience and find new ways to serve clients, organizations, neighborhoods, and society. I’m sure we will forge a way forward. Thank you for all you have given me.
Thursday, May 4, 2017
"The Clinical Law Review will hold its next Clinical Writers’ Workshop on Saturday, September 23, 2017, at NYU Law School. The registration deadline is June 30, 2017.
The Workshop will provide an opportunity for clinical teachers who are writing about any subject (clinical pedagogy, substantive law, interdisciplinary analysis, empirical work, etc.) to meet with other clinicians writing on related topics to discuss their works-in-progress and brainstorm ideas for further development of their articles. Attendees will meet in small groups organized, to the extent possible, by the subject matter in which they are writing. Each group will “workshop” the draft of each member of the group.
Participation in the Workshop requires the submission of a paper because the workshop takes the form of small group sessions in which all members of the group comment on each other’s manuscripts. By June 30, 2017, all applicants must submit a mini-draft or prospectus, 3-5 pages in length, of the article they intend to present at the workshop. Full drafts of the articles will be due by September 1, 2017.
As in the previous Clinical Law Review Workshops, participants will not have to pay an admission or registration fee but will have to arrange and pay for their own travel and lodging. To assist those who wish to participate but who need assistance for travel and lodging, NYU Law School has created a fund for scholarships to help pay for travel and lodging. The scholarships are designed for those clinical faculty who receive little or no travel support from their law schools and who otherwise would not be able to attend this workshop without scholarship support. Applicants for scholarships will need to submit, with their 3-5 page prospectus (which is due by June 30), a proposed budget for travel and lodging and a brief statement of why the scholarship would be helpful in supporting their attendance at this conference. The Board will review all scholarship applications and issue decisions about scholarships in early July. The scholarships are conditioned upon recipients’ meeting all requirements for workshop participation, including submission of drafts by the deadlines identified above, and will be capped at a maximum of $750 per person.
Information about the Workshop – including the Registration form, scholarship application form, and information for reserving hotel rooms – is available on-line at:
If you have any comments or suggestions you would like to send us, we would be very happy to hear from you. Comments and suggestions should be sent to Randy Hertz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- The Board of Editors of the Clinical Law Review"
In Denver this week and next, clinical law profs will gather from around the country for three conferences and all manner of clinical business.
The CLEA New Clinicians Conference is Saturday, May 6, at the Colorado Bar. Download the schedule and directions here. Follow and participate with CLEA for this conference and through the rest of the conferences at #CLEA2017.
The AALS Clinical and Experiential Law Program Directors Workshop begins with a reception on May 5 and continues throughout the day on May 6. Its theme this year is "Leadership in Tumultuous Times." See the program and more information here.
The 40th Annual AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education begins Saturday, May 6, and continues through Tuesday, May 9. Its theme is "Serving the Client in Tumultuous Times: Fostering Responsibility to Individuals, Communities, and Society in Clinical Legal Education." See the program and more here.
Follow along and contribute via social media at #clinical2017.
(Your humble servant/blogger/editor is speaking at all of them and looks forward to seeing our fantastic community again in the Rockies.)
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Monday, April 24, 2017
Please read this message to the clinical community from Prof. Anne Hornsby, Associate Dean for Clinical Programs at the University of Alabama:
By now, many of you know that the Law Clinics at Alabama lost our colleagues, Liz Whipple and Shelly Darling, in a tragic electricity-related accident at Lake Tuscaloosa. We are stunned and heartbroken, as are their families. The two were great friends, and shared a love for their work, rescue dogs, stylish boots, and a quirky and totally irreverent sense of humor that regularly gave way to big laughter. They were our self-appointed social directors, and could find an excuse for a party on any given occasion. For those of you who did not know them, I’ll share a little about their time here.
Liz had been a student in our first Domestic Violence Law Clinic, and was coaxed back to Alabama from her DV work in Atlanta to serve as director of that clinic in 2015. She was a natural teacher, and her legal skills and compassion in dealing with survivors of violence inspired others. Active in the Tuscaloosa community and the larger DV services community, she chaired the Tuscaloosa Domestic Violence Task Force, was on the board of the local women’s shelter, and reached out to train law enforcement on the issues about which she was passionate. She continued to be active in Georgia, as well. Her impact on her students, the law school, and the community will be lasting.
Shelly came to UA Law in 2014 as a staff attorney in the Elder Law Clinic. Due in large part to her bright intellect and high energy, she instantly fit into the work and into the organization. She had a special rapport with clients, some of whom would call her at all hours for advice on all manner of things. Her patience with them was remarkable. Students found her to be an excellent role model as an attorney, a formidable advocate with a practical nature. Aside from her work, she could not resist picking up stray dogs, and, likely as not, keeping them. She will be greatly missed.
Today our law school community gathered for an informal remembrance of Liz and Shelly. The stories shared brought home the importance of the work that we do. We will strive to honor their lives by following the examples of service they set for us.
Sincere thanks to each of you who have reached out with support and a shared sense of loss.
Anne Hornsby, on behalf of the Law Clinics at Alabama
Thursday, April 20, 2017
UCLA School of Law
Assistant Dean for Experiential Education
The position of Assistant Dean for Experiential Education requires a talented and enthusiastic individual to build and oversee the operational excellence of the UCLA Law program of clinical and experiential education. The Assistant Dean will report to and work under the general direction of the Faculty Director and/or Vice Dean of Experiential Education and will be expected to work independently with multiple faculty and staff within the law school. The Assistant Dean will participate in the Law School’s academic and curricular planning and support the Faculty Director and/or Vice Dean in expanding and promoting excellence in the law school’s program of clinical and experiential education. The Assistant Dean will also develop and maintain systems to ensure the provision of excellent legal services to clients and excellent pedagogical opportunities for students. These duties will require the Assistant Dean to build strong relationships within the law school community, as well as with external governmental and nonprofit entities with which the law school is collaborating. The person in this position should have some background and familiarity with clinical legal education, the ability to exercise creativity and good judgment about the law school program, and a deep interest in educating students and providing legal services to clients and communities in the region. The person in this position has the possibility of spending up to approximately 25% of his/her time teaching in a clinical program, to be determined in consultation with the Faculty Director/Vice Dean.
Minimum requirements include an excellent academic record; a J.D. or equivalent advanced degree; at least five years of substantial legal practice or related experience; and demonstrated management, administrative, and organizational skills, with successful prior experience inclinical legal education preferred. The salary and level of appointment will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. This position is a full-time, year round, non-tenure track academic appointment with an expected start date of July 1, 2017. This appointment is subject to the rules and regulations of the Regents of the University of California, which are mostly embodied in The UCLA CALL and the University of California Academic Personnel Manual. (See https://www.apo.ucla.edu/policies/the-call; and http://www.ucop.edu/acadpersonnel/apm/welcome.html.)
Confidential review of applications, nominations and expressions of interest will begin immediately and continue until an appointment is made. To ensure full consideration, applications should be received by Tuesday, June 13, 2017 but will be considered thereafter until the position is filled. Please apply online at https://recruit.apo.ucla.edu/apply/JPF02951 by submitting pdf copies of a cover letter, CV or resume, and the names and contact information for at least three professional references. Applicants with teaching experience should also include their teaching evaluations, a summary thereof, or other testimonials concerning their teaching experience.
The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see: UC Nondiscrimination & Affirmative Action Policy (http://policy.ucop.edu/doc/4000376/NondiscrimAffirmAct).
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
I have spent most of my education and career in Christian universities. They, like all institutions, struggle with their identities in various ways, wrestling to understand themselves as parts of ancient traditions, within rapidly evolving worlds, seeking the ideals of liberal education while adhering to faith commitments and obligations.
This Inside Higher Ed piece from my friend and colleague, Prof. Michael Helfand, is wise and right. He writes from his experience as an Orthodox Jew at our university affiliated with the Churches of Christ, my home tradition. He discusses a commitment to religious diversity as a core commitment for a university with a faith mission, not as an exception to it. This is one of the things we get right, I think, at Pepperdine Law, and our Jewish, Sikh, Muslim, Catholic, Mormon, Church of Christ, Episcopal, Evangelical, Etc. law faculty is all the stronger because of it.
Next year, I will be one of the faculty advisors for our Interfaith Student Council, and I believe Michael's words are true:
The key to maintaining this balance is a university administration and faculty that does not simply expect faculty members of other faiths to work parallel to the university’s faith-based mission. Capitalizing on religious diversity within a faith-based university works best -- both from a student and from a faculty perspective -- when the university actively seeks to incorporate that religious diversity into the faith-based mission of the school. It gives students a more multifaceted educational experience and gives faculty an increased sense of institutional value -- and, in turn, increases buy-in to the institution’s mission.
Monday, April 3, 2017
A few weeks ago, I had a moment. I suppose you could call it a “teaching moment,” since it occurred in the classroom, but really, it felt more like a moment, moment. You know, the kind where the world seems right, even if just for a few minutes. When somehow it all falls into place with stunning alignment and grace and we are a taught a lesson; the kind that resonates deeply in the body, like ancient knowledge that you can’t quite name or fully grasp but you know it when you see it.
At 10:00 pm the night before the first ever REEL (Re-imagining Excellence through Empowering Leadership) Conference, I quickly agreed to jump in and teach a 45 minute workshop on restorative justice when one presenter cancelled. My audience would be teenage boys, who attend the Kingston YMCA alternative education program. Most of the boys live a very difficult reality; they come from garrison communities where violence and retribution are the norm. Looking back, I realize the arrogance and potential foolishness of my haphazard decision, but I’m glad I didn’t have that awareness at the time, as my second-guessing could have easily turned into a “no.” One lesson I will most certainly take with me from my time here in Jamaica is that sometimes I just need to get it done, loosen the choke hold of that perfectionist bent, settle on “some is better than none,” and handle it.
After the haze of the late-night, last minute decision wore off, I acknowledged how stunningly out of my depth I would be. My Americanness, including my comparative wealth, which allows me augmented “safety” and “control” over my environment was directly at odds with the boys’ lived experience. The story I played in my mind was one of doubt: am I going to be able to convey, and in such a short amount of time, an alternative to retribution, another potential way of being in the world, a chance for possible repair instead of reprisal and the creation of more harm. Is that even possible? Is it even my place to try?
Luckily, another story simultaneously played. I’ve attended enough Clinical Law Conferences to have developed a fairly sturdy (even if at times tentative) trust in the power of teaching techniques, and so I would rely on those. Tactile learning, a circle and intuition would be my guides. In the classroom, I was adamant that the chairs, which were in rows had to be in circle. This meant the 20 minute task of re-arranging them prior to the boys arrival, but put those chairs in a circle we did (it must have seemed silly to everyone -- even to myself to a degree -- but I just knew we needed to see each other). Once everyone walked into the room, I patiently but diligently stuck to the format. I made all of us, including the teachers, sit inside the circle and we removed all empty chairs. We started with my request “tell us your name, your favorite junk food (a universally important question) and what you want to be in the future.” Pulling this information was difficult, the boys did not have much confidence or practice in speaking this way. I had to ask several times for quiet, push through the snickering, re-direct, constantly re-affirm the importance of each person’s response and ask countless times for everyone to speak up. And though there were fleeting moments of wondering whether this was the best use of our time together, I felt a strong pull; the act of naming and staking a claim on the future felt important and so even though it was a little tenuous, the circle held.
Next, I had the boys pretend to be actors (victim, police, community members, judge, offender, lawyers, etc.) in both the traditional and the restorative justice systems, using physical space and proximity to illustrate the concepts. The method seemed effective and we had fun. On the grand scale, I moved the room from the immediate “I would shoot his family dead” response to a consideration of “maybe” when asked if anyone would be willing to listen to the offender’s story. I considered this a success, but I’m kind of a glutton; I wasn’t satisfied, I pretty much always want more and because it just didn’t quite feel like enough or like it was done, I scrapped the script and started talking from the heart. It was messy, but it provided the opening we needed.
First, I acknowledged my privilege and then we talked…about anger, about witnessing horrific events, about endless cycles of violence, and about how as a society we instruct people not to do harm often through the use of state sanctioned forms of harm, control and force. The teachers, feeling more confident in this space, joined in, and together we validated feelings and passed along information about the effects trauma can have on our lives. We did our best to try and affirm the worth and dignity of everyone in the room (the future firefighter, graphic designer, lawyer, the one who likes KFC, Lavonte, “Tony,” and the one I ran into at the bus station…) Looking around, I could tell the boys heard it, many even appreciated the sentiment, but there was still a disconnect, a gap that I was desperate to, but didn’t have the words or experience or time to close.
And then it happened, as it often does, at the last minute, when you’ve got nothing left…
One of the teachers, who had been participating and asking questions throughout the workshop (which if I’m being honest, unnerved me a bit because of our tight time frame and because I thought “this is a workshop for the boys, not the teachers”) raised her hand again just in time for the final comment. By her insightful questions, I could tell that she was working through something and so even though the questions took us a little of “my course,” I had done my best to provide space and answer them.
And so in those last minutes of our time together, Ms. Taylor closed us out and brought us home. And somehow, she did it, she managed to fuse it all together: my words, their words, my knowledge, and their lived experiences. She spoke in the way that only a Jamaican woman could, only in a way that someone who has worked for a long time to gain trust and garner respect could, and only in a way that a mother who intimately knows suffering could.
She opened up and told us her story. It was a deeply personal story, one that I’m not sure her colleagues even knew, filled with pain, loss, restitution and redemption; one of those stories where the universe delivers both the poisonous sting and the antidote simultaneously rolled into one bitter-sweet pill. She was restorative justice personified. And we were stunned and silent; the room reverent as the energy shifted and stilled. We heard and finally we understood the power of forgiveness and the healing that can bring. I have no doubt that her story has wedged itself into the hearts of those young men the way it flowed directly into mine. And as we go forward to maneuver the difficulties of this life, I know we will all hear her words echoing inside us, providing us with choices which we couldn’t see before, a wider spectrum of possibilities that now exist in all our worlds.
And so I learned once again about the real value of restorative justice and why I do this work, and I learned once again about myself. Ms. Taylor’s lesson was the re-enforcement of what so many have tried to teach me over and over again...trust the process, trust yourself, check your ego at the door along with those western, hierarchical methods of learning, get out of the way, and just be the bridge, let it simply be an honor to be the conduit that facilitates the real knowledge residing in all of us.
 The nature of poverty in the garrison constituencies in Jamaica, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/095624780501700207
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Via the LawClinic listserv:
Assistant Clinical Professor - Coordinator of Skills and Experiential Learning - College of Law
Responsibilities include teaching and managing all educational tasks necessary to institute and maintain an innovative skills curriculum for all law students; to oversee, manage the academic externship program to include teaching each semester; and to expand experiential practice-based learning experiences for law students.
This position requires: a JD degree from an ABA-accredited law school; substantial experience, including a minimum of 5 years practice and/or teaching experience at an accredited law school; being licensed to practice law in Louisiana; and demonstrated commitment to social justice and working with low income people; a long-term commitment to teaching law students to maintain strong academic credentials and practice experience. Strong preference will be given to candidates with experience with planning, organizing and administering lawyering skills curriculum and experiential learning.
Send resume, writing sample and references with letter of application to:
Associate Director of Clinic
Stuart H. Smith Clinic & Center for Social Justice
Loyola University College of Law
504 Broadway Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70118
Loyola is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.
Deadline for application is May 1st.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Once again, a Republican led administration is seeking to end federal funding for legal services for the poor by eliminating the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). LSC, founded in 1974, is an important funding source of legal services programs for the poor in the United States.
It is not new for those of us who have been working as legal advocates for the poor in various capacities. If at all possible, law schools (not just the clinical programs and externship programs) should denounce this effort by the current President and speak out in support of equal justice and access for all.
Previously, under the administration of Ronald Reagan, Republicans sought to ‘zero’ out the funding of the Legal Services Corporation. The effort failed and LSC lived to struggle on, terribly underfunded, but yet alive somehow amidst a wave of extreme right wing politics. Ronald Reagan and his cohorts persisted over and years and they pressed on again and again trying to cut the program.
Virginia Knapland, a managing attorney at Westchester Legal Services in the 1980's criticized Reagan's efforts at the time and asserted that if LSC was totally cut, “the courtroom doors will be closed to the poor.” Later in the mid 1980's when Reagan again tried to cut the agency completely, law student, James Cott opined in the Christian Science Monitor that “our democracy can only function if our legal system is available to all citizens, not merely those who can afford private legal services.”
Most of the programs that LSC funded back then survived but barely. They also became so overburdened with regulations and bureaucracy many had to remake themselves. They did not want their work to become meaningless because of the absurdity of our politics.
I was a Staff Attorney at the Neighborhood Legal Services Program (NLSP) in the early 1990’s when again a GOP led effort sought to end LSC's funding. Newt Gingrich led that nasty effort and it resulted in a 56 percent cut to our funding. Several of our offices had to be closed and many attorneys and paralegals had to be let go. I would have been one of those attorneys but so many people at NLSP decided to retire and move on, a number of us were able to retain our positions.
The sojourn of the Neighborhood Legal Services Program in Washington is a perfect example of the callous governing that has gone on at time since Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 in regards to legal services for the poor funding by taxpayers. NLSP once had 11 offices in the city, scattered throughout the city, and had become one of the model programs for advocacy and change in the U.S. regarding the rights of poor people. After the attacks, it had only two offices. In particular, NLSP was at the forefront of changing the nation's landlord-tenant laws to respect and recognize the rights of not just tenants able to afford legal counsel but poor tenants often living in substandard housing. NLSP remains in operation today but is remarkably different as a result of the various attacks over the years by Republican administrations.
Yet to put it all in perspective, even with the many offices NLSP had been operating with LSC funding at various times, both before and after the cuts, it still did not reach the many poor people in the city who needed a lawyer in a divorce, or landlord-tenant dispute, or small claims matter, or a simple workmen’s compensation claim. The LSC funding, to use a terrible, overused metaphor was a drop in the bucket of what is actually needed and that can be afforded.
That is why to cut LSC, without a replacement program, is an act of political cowardice. It doesn’t save the government much money at all and if it does happen, it will likely cost the court systems across the country much more in time and money in trying to handle the confusion created by a decision which is devoid of real thought and deliberation.
It is hoped that law schools will speak our forcibly on this issue and the deans of the law schools will use their influence to once again stop another misguided Republican effort to end federal funding for legal services for the poor.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Opening Plenary, AALS Clinical Conference – Request for Action Items: What Are You Doing in These Tumultuous Times?
This year's AALS clinical conference happens in early May, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. Be a part of the opening plenary session by sharing your work! From the organizers:
We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education. We write with regard to the conference’s opening plenary session, entitled Pushing On and Pushing Through in Tumultuous Times. The conference theme is Serving the Client in Tumultuous Times: Fostering Responsibility to Individuals, Communities, and Society in Clinical Legal Education. As part of the plenary, we would like to hear from you regarding action steps you have taken or plan to take―in response to today’s tumultuous times—during this academic year or action planning this summer with respect to teaching, lawyering, scholarship and/or service. How have these times caused/forced/led/inspired you to change what you have done, what you are doing, and/or what do you plan to do? Please send us a couple of sentences or a paragraph detailing your steps by Friday, March 31, to email@example.com, with the subject line: “Faculty Motivation for Opening Plenary.”
In addition, please ask your students to create brief videos or take photos that we might show during the opening plenary or perhaps at other times throughout the conference or on the conference website in which they address one of the following questions: 1) What have you been doing this academic year to address injustice?; 2) How have you been making a difference this academic year, inside or outside of law school?; and/or 3) In 2017, what motivates you most to become a lawyer? Responses can be sent in a short video format (e.g., less than one-minute iPhone video clip) or on a photo with cue card, as shown in this video of Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGxjIBEZvx0, and on the right side of the page here, http://theopedproject.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=868&Itemid=154. Other examples could include photos or short videos of students meeting with client communities, providing access to legal assistance in new venues such as airports, or meeting with local legislators. Each submission must include the student’s name, law school and year in law school. Submissions may include audio. Please send high-resolution photos and high-definition cellphone videos. Submissions are due by Friday, March 31, and should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line: “Student Motivation for Opening Plenary.”
We cannot promise to include all submissions in our opening plenary program. We know we will gain inspiration from all of them.
Opening Plenary Presenters:
Craig B. Futterman, The University of Chicago, The Law School
Bill O. Hing, University of San Francisco School of Law
Susan R. Jones, The George Washington University Law School
Moderator: Michael Pinard, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
Planning Committee for AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education:
Luz E. Herrera, Texas A&M University School of Law
Margaret M. Jackson, University of North Dakota School of Law
Lydia Johnson, Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law
Paul Radvany, Fordham University School of Law
Alexander Scherr, University of Georgia School of Law
Robin Walker Sterling, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Carol Suzuki, University of New Mexico School of Law, Chair
Send questions to:
Carol M. Suzuki
Professor of Law
University of New Mexico School of Law