Clinical Law Prof Blog

Editor: Jeffrey R. Baker
Pepperdine University
School of Law

Friday, January 13, 2017

A wish for MLK Day--Remember the poor will still need our help, too.

Much is going to change for Americans over the next weeks and years with the new Administration.  With change comes fear and in this case change looks to be formidable.  It seems like every moment, we are bombarded with information reminding us of people whose needs and legal rights need to be protected now more than ever and asking us to support them.  We are pressed to bring foremost to our minds many issues.  People’s free speech rights may be challenged.  Non-citizens may be harassed or deported.  Women will not be respected.  Gay and transgender people may lose gains made over the last few years.  Many may lose healthcare.  It is scary.  These people need help and protections.  The warnings we get are real and they are right.  Just worrying about these things is not enough.  Steps must be taken to ensure that people are protected.  Sometimes, it is protecting people who may be close to or similar to us and whose problems we understand viscerally.  Sometimes it is protecting people who are just people that we cannot stand to see potentially harmed by what seems like coming vast change and possible attack.

I am afraid, too, about many of these issues.  My fear, however, is that in the overwhelming barrage of all of this change, the needs of the poor and of the traditionally legally underserved  are forgotten.  As a lawyer and teacher who has spent much of my career working on issues of the poor, one of my biggest fears is that these people who have needed our help  and continue to need our help will be put on the back burner as we struggle to protect other things.

That is not to say that all of the issues described in the first paragraph are not important.  They are.  But what is going to happen over the next few months to the poor?  My clients depend on SSI, a welfare program designed to provide minimal income benefits to poor people with disabilities, on TANF, a welfare program designed to provide much less but at least something  to parents with children, and on SNAP benefits.  Will those programs continue to exist?  Will they be under attack?  Even if they are not, my clients still need help proving they need these benefits.  Won’t it still be a problem that like many states, my state has chosen long before this election to dismantle General Assistance for those who cannot qualify for other income support programs?  Don’t these issues still need to be addressed?

My fear for the coming months and years is that we will help those like us more than those not like us.  For well over a year now, I have been struggling to write a law review article about legal triage, a topic many have discussed before me in the clinical legal world.   My continuing struggle as a former glorified pro bono coordinator, as a legal services attorney, and now as a law professor is that the people that we relate to most are really the people who get help.  It is easy to see that people like us are people we have to help.  We help those with disabilities when we know family or friends with disabilities.  We help people with health insurance when we know those who have struggled without it or feel we know those at risk.  My fear for the next few months is that those who we do not generally see who have often been the traditional clients that advocates for the legally underserved have helped will be left behind as we struggle to protect people like us or people we know on issues that are really, really important.  My hope is that I and my students will remember that there are still real needs among our traditional client base.  I do not argue that we necessarily need to help them the way that I try to with my students through individual work.  There are likely better ways and certainly just as good ways of working for the poor that are  as important or better than what we do.  But my wish for MLK Day is that people do not forget this group.  While we struggle to work on other issues that are really important, let's continue to focus on the needs of the poor. 

January 13, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

JOBS: Cal State - Chico: Undergraduate Professor of Legal Studies in its Community Legal Information Center

Via Dr. Mahalley D. Allen, a position in legal studies and Cal State - Chico's innovative, undergraduate legal clinic:


Assistant Professor of Legal Studies

Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice


California State University, Chico is committed to achieving the goals of equal opportunity and endeavors to employ faculty and staff of the highest quality reflecting the ethnic and cultural diversity of the state. We are committed to achieving excellence through diversity in the classroom and the workplace. We strive to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for the contributions of all students, faculty, and staff

The Position: The Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice invites applications for a tenure-track position in legal studies at the Assistant Professor level. The position begins August 2017.

Minimum Qualifications: The minimum requirements for appointment to this position are: a Bachelor’s degree, a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from an accredited law school, current membership in the State of California Bar or membership within one year of the start of employment, ability to teach courses in clinical legal education (i.e., Community Legal Information Center) and courses in the Legal Studies program, as well as the capacity to engage in publishable academic and/or legal/professional research. 

Preferred Qualifications:  Preference will be given to applicants with any of the following: legal clinical experience, paralegal supervision, experience in practicing law, teaching experience, law review participation and/or additional degrees, such as a L.L.M. or Ph.D. In addition to teaching courses in clinical legal education, other primary teaching responsibilities may include courses in any one of the following areas: constitutional law, criminal law and procedure, civil litigation, introduction to legal studies, alternative dispute resolution, administrative law, and moot court.

Responsibilities: This tenure-track position carries responsibilities in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service to the Department and University. Teaching assignments are based upon qualifications of the individual and the needs of the department.                     

Salary: Salary commensurate with education and experience.

The Department: The Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice offers undergraduate degrees in political science (including an option in legal studies), criminal justice, international relations, and public administration, as well as Masters degrees in political science and public administration. We have an exciting curriculum, with numerous options to meet a host of academic interests, and an active and productive faculty committed to excellence in teaching and scholarship. Over 1,000 students major in our department’s programs. Additional information about our Department is available at Additional information about the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences is available at


The Legal Studies Program: The Legal Studies Program within the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice includes an active moot court program, a paralegal certificate program, and the Community Legal Information Center (CLIC). Founded in 1969, CLIC is an extensive undergraduate law clinic designed to benefit participating students by providing hands-on legal training and active learning experiences. CLIC also provides a unique civic engagement program that helps serve the legal service needs of Northern California. Additional information about the Legal Studies Program is available at:


Closing Date: Review of applications will begin on February 6, 2017, and continue until the position is filled.


How to Apply:   All applicants must apply online at:   


Complete online applications must include: curriculum vitae or resume, cover letter, complete set of undergraduate and law school transcripts, and teaching evaluations if available. Three letters of recommendation are also required and should be submitted to the Search Committee Chair.


Job-related questions and letters of recommendation should be directed to:

Dr. Mahalley Allen, Search Committee Chair

Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice

California State University, Chico
Chico, CA 95929-0455 , 530-898-6506

January 12, 2017 in Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

JOBS: Pepperdine Startup Law Clinic in the Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law

Supervising Attorney in Pepperdine's new Startup Law Clinic in the Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship & the Law

The Supervising Attorney will teach and supervise students practicing in the Pepperdine Startup Law Clinic (the "SLC"). In the SLC, law students learn and train through law practice under the supervision of the Supervising Attorney. The SLC provides legal services to entrepreneurs and startup businesses in corporate organization and financing transactions. The Supervising Attorney will teach the seminar component of the SLC course with an adjunct faculty appointment. The SLC contributes to the University's mission by increasing the School of Law's capacity to teach, train and form professionals as well as serving the local entrepreneurial community. The SLC serves the School of Law's strategic plan by increasing the profile of the School of Law within the vibrant Southern California entrepreneurial community.


  • The Supervising Attorney will supervise law students in practice with professional responsibility for all client services. The SLC's primary focus is in startup financing. The specific legal questions any given client may present may range from issues of corporate law to IP and licensing, to tax and employment, as well as finance. Matters could include entity formation, drafting shareholder and operating agreements, negotiating investment or loan agreements, advising on how to structure internal compensation structures for founders, drafting vendor or services agreements, and many other basic legal needs for startup companies.
  • Uphold University mission through work performed.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

The above information has been designed to indicate the general level of work performed by employees within this classification. It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of employees assigned to this job.

Skills and Qualifications

Required: The Supervising Attorney must hold a JD degree from an ABA accredited law school and must be a licensed attorney in good standing in California. The Supervising Attorney must have substantial transactional legal experience in startup and entrepreneurial law practice, especially in financing transactions. The Supervising Attorney must have broad and deep relationships in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Southern California and the ability to secure strategic partnerships for the SLC.

Preferred: Preferred candidates will have expertise in other relevant fields such as intellectual property, tax, or mergers & acquisitions.

Qualified individuals should be able to articulate a strong commitment to diversity, and have the ability to work effectively with individuals from different backgrounds.

Offers of employment are contingent upon successful completion of a criminal, education and employment screening.

This is a restricted, exempt, 40 hour per week position.

Salary: Commensurate with experience


Follow this link for more information and instructions for applying.

January 10, 2017 in Jobs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Getting Unstuck and Design Thinking

Everyone in our work encounters students who are in crisis about their callings, opportunities, and direction.  Most of us are sympathetic because we have all passed through those years, bedraggled and anxious about what we should do and how we should get there. Some of us still are.  

Students seek counsel and advice as they try to choose between their several options or as they despair at having too few. Many students (and professors and people) suffer profound questions about their lives and purpose as they finally achieve admission to law school with great dreams of how they imagine it to be, only to be utterly confused and depressed at the reality. Many students (and professors and people) are paralyzed by the fear of missing out, worried into stasis because choosing one path will necessarily eliminate others. They cannot square their reality with their expectations, and they are terrified of making an early step that will lead them into the wilderness instead of their home. In my experience, I meet many students who are people of faith, praying desperately and waiting to learn what God wills for their lives.    

Today, I listened to a very wise episode of  The Hidden Brain with Shankar Vedantam, applying design thinking to the problem of people feeling stuck in lives that do not reflect who they see themselves to be.  I recommend it for teachers and students looking for a useful framework for thinking about work, vocation, purpose, and decision-making.

Here’s the link to the episode and an excerpt:

Many of his students come to him saying they don't know what to do with their lives. They want to find the "right" answer. He tells them, 'There is more than one you in there.'

"So the problem with the current approach that lots of people are taking," he says, "is it starts with the wrong question. And the wrong question is, how do I figure out that one, best solution to my life?"

Design thinking is about recognizing your constraints, realizing there isn't just one answer, and then trying something: "Building a prototype," getting information from it, and then trying something else.

This reflects some of the advice I often give students, hard won as the wisdom of my own failures and struggles.  

It’s important to understand the difference between a problem and a circumstance, the “gravity problem” in the podcast, that can help us set more realistic expectations as a basis for our decisions.  

Rather than slogging through anguish trying to decide what to do in their work, students should imagine what kind of life they want to live. Making decisions consistent with values and preferences can be more liberating than pining for the perfect job. This also addresses the fear of missing out, because many options might be consistent with values and preferences along an evolving path.  As the podcast suggests, there are many different potential versions of our lives, so we experiment with prototypes to refine the best possible options in a moment within our circumstances.   

The episode suggests design thinking, not as self-help or mystical psychology, but as a framework to guide decisions and reflection for students stuck at the end of education and the beginning of a career. This is a critical moment, but it is only one more step in a long journey.

January 8, 2017 in Teaching and Pedagogy | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, January 6, 2017

Dear ___________

This term I try something new. 

The students in my clinic will write a letter to themselves. The letter will be them speaking to themselves 14-15 weeks from now when clinic is over. They will tell themselves what they accomplished, what they did, and how they did it.  It is the student setting goals for themselves before the experience begins.

The clinical students will set goals in this letter it is hoped. By stating their accomplishments, they will set a path of achievement and work. The clinical faculty and the law school they attend is there for them to set goals and outcomes, but they can set goals as well and seek outcomes. The letter is a means to set them on that personal course.

The letter gets them to consider what they are now. Are they fearful of speaking in court or in front of people? Are they comfortable conducting site investigations? Are they comfortable with their interviewing skills? Do they negotiate well ? Or maybe, they have bigger goals such as they really want to learn how to infuse social justice into their work and learn it because it is what they want to do as a legal professional?  The letter can be very different for all of the students.

The most important thing is the student should be identifying their own concerns, the areas of legal practice skills that they know they can work on to improve, or the type of learning and development they want out of the clinical experience.  It could be anything. Maybe they just want to get along better with their co-students. Or, maybe they want to not be late once for any appointment related to the clinic. Regardless, the idea is to have the student embrace their goals and pursue them.

This idea of a letter to oneself came from a writing retreat I attended years ago. It lasted for 10 days. When the retreat was over, we were told to write letters to ourselves. The letters would be mailed to us (or handed back to us) in a  year.  We were charged in the letter with talking to ourselves and saying what we accomplished in that year.  Some goals were ambitious, some were basic, but we set the course of our development and work.

What I noticed from this experience is because I wrote specific things in the letter I pursued these goals strongly. I focused on them. If I had some challenges in achieving the goals, I sought help or I slowed down and refocused. Regardless, the letter became part of a path for me because I knew what I wanted to achieve and I made the effort. It was as if the letter made me push harder.  Reading my letter a year later was quite interesting too and something I welcomed. 

Imagine a letter written before a basketball camp that lasted a month. An excerpt of the letter might read like this:

Dear Brian:

You have worked hard on your left hand dribbling now. You have gotten much better at dribbling left handed and you feel good about that. You also needed to work on your free throws and you now almost never miss. You put in the time.

The clinical experience is increasingly important and is as always focused upon the actual skills of legal practice, among other things. This letter is just another tool to push that goal.  With so much focus upon the all important practical skills of legal education, this letter to oneself is just something else to use. 




January 6, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Bob Kuehn: Data Show Most Law Schools Are Not Preparing Students Well for Practice

In a post at the Best Practices blog, Prof. Robert Kuehn examines empirical data on the performance of law schools in preparing students for practice.  He finds and demonstrates that most law schools continue to fall short of preparing students for practice, even many years after the ABA and most law schools declared preparation for practice to be a principal goal of legal education.

More recent studies have not reflected any improvement in the role of legal education in preparing graduates for practice. The American Bar Foundation’s After the JD study tracks the careers of a sample of lawyers who passed the bar in 2000. It asked lawyers three and seven years of out of school if “law school prepared me well for my legal career.” On this fundamental objective of legal education, law schools failed miserably — 40% of lawyers after three years of practice and 50% after seven years said that law school did not adequately prepare them. Both groups overwhelmingly agreed that law school was too theoretical and unconcerned with real life practice. In another study of early-career lawyers, only 28% believed that law school prepared them to practice law.

January 5, 2017 in Teaching and Pedagogy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Clinic Mural

UCD Mural

Like many clinicians, I found this past semester challenging. (And yes, “challenging” is code for all of the other descriptors and curses best left off this blog.) I was fortunate to work with 10 especially engaged UC Davis law students in a clinic serving victims of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. But the semester seemed unusually fraught with health issues for students, staff, and faculty alike, and our clients faced particularly frustrating setbacks in court. Then there was the election…

But there was also a new kind of energy in our building - involving scaffolding, paint, and pizza. Professor Maceo Montoya and the undergraduate students* enrolled in his Fall 2016 Chicana/o Studies Mural Workshop created and painted a mural for a large wall in our clinic cottage. (The picture does not do it justice.) The left side depicts “trapped,” portraying isolation, hardship, and the lack of accessibility to lawyers for our clients. The center represents “agency,” portraying our clinic law students, the history of our building as a farmworker cottage, and the hope the rising sun brings. The right side shows “liberation,” including the chains of oppression transforming into quetzals, the safe space provided through our clinic, legal successes for clients, and “justice” written in several languages.

Thanks to connections made by one of our Immigration Clinic Directors, Professor Holly Cooper, and the creativity and hard work of Professor Montoya and his students, our workspace is more colorful, more inviting, and more meaningful. And we now have an everyday reminder of the reason we do the work we do.

Happy New Year!

*The students who painted the mural were: Vanessa Barajas Orozco, Castro, Anllely, Monica Duarte Martinez, Jose Espinoza, Jazmin Guerrero, Daisy Hernandez, Kristi Lin, Cecilia Lopez, Jeannette Martinez, Raul Mercado, Annette Miramontes, Briana Nunez, Jessica Orozco, Derick Romero, Shelby Sanders, and Natalie Villalobos Gomez. Several mentioned an interest in social justice lawyering, so keep an eye out for their law school applications.  

January 4, 2017 in Clinic News, Interdisciplinary Programs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Clinicians and Clinical Events at the 2017 AALS Annual Meeting

The 2017 AALS Annual Meeting opens Tuesday, January 3, in San Francisco. The AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education and the Clinical Legal Education Association have several events, formal and informal, on the menu.


Tuesday, January 3:

CLEA Board Meeting, 3:00 – 5:00 (UC-Hastings,100 McAllister St., 3d Floor)

CLEA Membership Meeting, 5:30 – 6:30 (UC-Hastings, 198 McAllister St., Ground Floor)


Wednesday, January 4:

A Practical Approach to Developing and Assessing Experiential, Meaningful Placements for Incoming and Outgoing J.D. Law, International Legal Exchange and Post-Graduate Legal Education Joint Program, Co-Sponsored by Clinical Legal Education, East Asian Law & Society, & Graduate Programs for Non-U.S. Lawyers, 1:30 – 4:30 (Yosemite C)

Jessica Burns (Global Experiences), William H. Byrnes (Texas A&M), Gillian Dutton (Seattle), Jayanth K. Krishnan (Indiana – Maurer), Charlotte Ku (Texas A&M), Srividhya Ragavan (Texas A&M), Susan B. Schechter (UC-Berkeley), Aric K. Short (Texas A&M), Jeffrey Ellis Thomas (UMKC)


AALS Externship Committee Meeting and Dinner, 7:00 – 9:00 (Amber India, 25 Yerba Buena Lane)


Thursday, January 5:

Addressing Implicit Bias in Teaching, Clinical Legal Education Section, 8:30 – 10:15  (Continental Ballroom 4)      

Rachel Godsil (Seton Hall), Carol L. Izumi (UC-Hastings), Verna Myers (Verna Myers Consulting Group), Victoria Plaut (UC-Hastings)


AALS Clinical Legal Education Section Luncheon, 12:00 – 1:30 (Ticket Required)

This luncheon includes the presentation of the 2017 Pincus Award to Frank Askin (Rutgers) and Tom Geraghty (Northwestern)


AALS Discussion Group: Law School Curricula and Practice-Readiness: Perfect Partners or Strange Bedfellows?, 1:30 – 3:15 (Union Square 1&2)

Constance E. Bagley (Yale), Bradford Colbert (Mitchell | Hamline), Randy J. Diamond (Missouri), Claire Donohue (American), Kate Elengold (North Carolina), Michelle Falkoff (Northwestern), Andrew J. Haile (Elon), Norrinda Hayat (UDC), John D. King (Washington and Lee), Laurie S. Kohn (George Washington), M. Isabel Medina (Loyola  - New Orleans), Ann L. Nowak (Touro), David Anthony Santacroce (Michigan), Jessica Steinberg (George Washington), Jane K. Stoever (UC-Irvine), Bryan Taylor (Concordia), Paul R. Tremblay (Boston College)


Friday, January 6:

AALS Arc of Career Program, Chartering New Waters: Clinicians' Post-Tenure Reflections, 8:30 – 10:15 (Continental Ballroom 6)

Kristina Campbell (UDC), Patience A. Crowder (Denver, Susan R. Jones (George Washington), Laurie S. Kohn (George Washington), Karla M. McKanders (Tennessee), Jayesh Rathod (American), Robin Walker Sterling (Denver) Elizabeth Young (U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review)

January 2, 2017 in Conferences and Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 30, 2016

CLEA Newsletter Winter 2016-17


Together with the CLEA Newsletter Committee, I am very happy to announce that the Winter 2016-17 issue of the CLEA Newsletter has just been posted here:

In this issue, you'll find lots of interesting content, including: CLEA's Strategic Plan; articles on clinical teaching by Robert Kuehn (Washington Univ.-St. Louis), Jennifer Oliva & Valena Beety (WVU), Dana Malkus (St. Louis Univ.), and Rebecca Nieman (Thomas Jefferson); CLEA committee and advocacy updates; and several announcements about upcoming events at the AALS Annual Meeting in San Francisco.  Plus, you'll find good news from our colleagues around the world.

Thanks, and Happy New Year

CLEA Newsletter Committee
Lauren Bartlett (Ohio Northern)
Tanya Asim Cooper (Pepperdine)
Susan Donovan (Alabama)
D'lorah Hughes (UCI Irvine)
Kate Kruse (Mitchell Hamline)

December 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Sign-on Letter Opposing the Nomination of Sessions

Law professors at several schools—including Denver, Georgetown, Washington and Lee, U.C. Berkeley, Northwestern, and University of Chicago—have organized a sign-on letter asking senators to reject the nomination of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General because it "presents a very real threat to civil rights and civil liberties, to underrepresented groups and people of color, and to the principles of inclusion and tolerance we all hold dear."   They have also launched a related fundraising effort to take out ads in local newspapers targeting senators who are undecided about their vote. 

The letter already has 1100 signatures and counting.  You can add your signature at  The fundraising goal is $13,000 and the group has raised about $10,500 to pay for newspaper ads. You can pitch-in to the fundraising effort at

December 23, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The ABA sues the Dept. of Education to protect the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

The ABA issued this statement describing its suit against the Department of Education to protect the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program after recent actions by the DOE to redefine qualifying work.

Here is an excerpt from the ABA's statement:

The suit, which also includes four individual plaintiffs who were denied eligibility under PSLF, details how the Department of Education changed the eligibility requirement for work that was clearly “public service” after already approving the work and after individuals made decisions and loan repayments based on those approvals. . . .

The complaint contends that the individual plaintiffs (Geoffrey Burkhart, Michelle Quintero-Millan, Jamie Rudert, and Kate Voigt) made financial and life decisions based on the program. Not only did they follow the rules of the program by making loan payments while employed in public service jobs, but three of the plaintiffs received verification from the DOE that their jobs qualified under the program. A fourth plaintiff, Quintero-Millan, believed she qualified because she worked in a public service job for a nonprofit that the Department of Education had already certified as qualifying for the program. The plaintiffs were later informed that their jobs no longer qualified and their previous payments did not count towards the program.

December 20, 2016 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 16, 2016

Comparative Law for Spanish-English Lawyers: Legal Cultures, Legal Terms and Legal Practices

My very first job after law school was in Ecuador.  Pause and think about that.  As a newly-minted lawyer, my first job was in Spanish, not English; in a civil, not common law, jurisdiction; and in a country that I had never even visited before I moved there for a year.  And, not surprisingly, I struggled.  I declared victory the day I pieced together the vocabulary and the wherewithal to get my suits dry-cleaned.  Which is to say nothing of the struggle of learning the history, culture, context, and daily practice of Ecuadorian law.

A new book, Comparative Law for Spanish-English Lawyers: Legal Cultures, Legal Terms and Legal Practices / Derecho comparado para abogados anglo- e hispanoparlantes: Culturas jurídicas, términos jurídicos y prácticas jurídicas (Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd., 2016), takes a close look at the legal systems of the U.S., England, Spain, and Mexico to give bilingual lawyers a foundational understanding of the common principles and practices in these jurisdictions, as well as practical and doctrinal insights into a variety of English- and Spanish-speaking jurisdictions.  The book, written by Professors S.I. Strong of the University of Missouri, Katia Fach Gómez of the University of Zaragoza, and Laura Carballo Piñeiro of the University of Santiago de Compostela, examines “various types of legal authorities and how such materials are interpreted and applied in the two legal traditions” (7), discusses substantive areas of law and procedure, and then looks at etiquette and practice in the two traditions. The book is a bilingual text geared to helping those who are conversationally fluent in a second language achieve legal fluency. The authors envision the book being used in both group and individual study, and it is available in both hard copy and electronic form (Elgar is currently offering a discount on website sales). If you are interested in the book, visit Elgar for more information or contact Professor S.I. Strong.

December 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

"The Privilege of Stillness" - Aleppo

The Privilege of Stillness


See the hordes of humans trying to escape, let it pass quickly.

See the buildings blown into dust, scroll faster.

See the child marred by mud and blood, let it hastily roll over you.

The mind hides from itself, defiantly shouting: I will not be moved. I simply cannot bear witness to this suffering. I cannot and I will not. I am choice. I am privilege. I am closed, clamped and wound down, tightly shut off and sealed. I will not be moved because I choose not to be moved.

See the hordes of humans trying to escape, let it pass quickly.

See the buildings blown into dust, scroll faster.

See the child marred by mud and blood, let it hastily roll over you.

Until the heaps of images and stacks of grief mount so high they finally tumble into a single question: why

Slowly cracks of light appear through doorway’s spine; slowly the wheels of the mind unlock and spin around reason like a tire falteringly trying to grip the pavement in a deluge. The mind no longer completely hidden from itself, softly responding:  It is for your own protection. The Color of Fear explains it well. I do not have the courage to face another reality, as it would alter mine. Validating your experience will surely invalidate my own. Your already broken actuality will absolutely break mine. Can I survive myself so that you might live? And with more questions, light spills through the doorway and wheel finds the groove.

See the hordes of humans trying to escape, look at the picture.

See the buildings blown into non-existence, open the article.

See the child marred by mud and blood, haunted, and finally read the words: “A complete meltdown of humanity.”


Fall into history, crash into sharing, stagger into realization: one minute of learning is never wasted, one ounce of compassion is never squandered, and one moment of shared humanity has the capacity to haphazardly propel you into the person you hope to be. Though it is often too late, it is never too late.

Now, move.

December 13, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 12, 2016

"Water your own grass"

I watched the little video below, and it completely reminded me of something I learned from Nancy Levit at a AALS Clinical Law Conference presentation a few years back. Nancy may not know it, but her advice profoundly changed something in me (and hopefully future generations of lawyers - thank you, thank you, thank you for your books Nancy and Doug)!

"The best advice I ever heard and internalized was to "water your own grass." This is applicable to so much in life be it work, relationship or friendship. If you truly care about something, invest in it, get curious about it, figure out how, even in small ways, you can improve it, and you will not regret the exercise. Even when you find aspects you don't appreciate (as you surely will because everything is "flawed"), your picture will be formed with such a new and complex understanding that it's impossible not to find beauty and some measure of clarity in such a tangled web. Good luck out there. Oh, and I almost forgot, this includes the "self" too, you beautiful, flawed, complicated human! (from my Facebook interwebs post this morning). Enjoy!


December 12, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Long Walk Home

Long walk home

For the first time today, I noticed I was walking like a Jamaican. Jamaicans don’t “walk” so much as they stroll, they saunter, they meander…and it wasn’t until about halfway home that I realized I wasn’t racing to one of the imaginary finish lines I often create in my mind. I was suddenly just walking. And that revolutionary act transported me to a world that I occupy but am not really a part of. The observation from those moments was enough for me to rethink my whole racing strategy because there was real, tangible joy to be found on the other side, where sandals meet the road.

During that long walk home, my eyes locked onto other eyes and held gazes that revealed humanities composed of infinite stories and ancestors, as complex, rich and meaningful as my own.  I felt and can internalize and identify with the phrase “the grass tickled my feet.” I have now heard the songs of birds while discovering a mahogany-magenta-maroon color that I’m not sure Crayola’s 96 has managed to capture in quite the same way as that flower. I heroically survived a tense encounter with a ferret (what Jamaicans call a rrrat – a hard r laced with a trace of disgust) as he watched me, watching him, watching me; both of us wary and thankful as we parted ways. And remarkably, my body remembers how to walk, though I have often created my own abnormal, unsustainable, ungodly rhythms that leave me sweating, exhausted and aching, my body knows my natural stride includes a gentle swinging of hips, though I have long tried to subdue it, and feet that don’t so much step but glide over asphalt and ant; how quickly I unlearned all the harsh lessons I’ve taught myself.  

When you suddenly appreciate how full a moment can be and see what was previously unseen, in reflection, you also come into close contact with what’s absent. On that long walk home, I did not think about the election once. I did not think about what I would have for dinner or a snack. I didn’t think about buying Christmas gifts or creating grocery lists or any lists at all. The omnipresent, self-induced anxiety cycle ceded for while allowing new prioritization and restructuring of a truth long suppressed: connection over technology, natural over manufactured, curiosity over fear, inhabiting over externalizing, and journey over destination.

And I want that for you, my dearest friends. I want you to walk with me, if even for just a few seconds. I know during this time of year, that during this time in history, that with a society constantly telling us there is not enough time and that we are not enough, telling us only about absence, lack, scarcity and need…that walking this way can seem impossible. But I am witness to what’s on the other side and my desire for you is stronger than the misguided belief of impossibility.  You can see humanity the way I saw it, hear the birds sing the way I heard them, experience color the way I saw it, you can trust and come home to yourself; forgetting by letting yourself remember what you have always known. Forget the broken hearts and promises, forget the election and divisiveness, forget the endless amount of work that will always exist, forget the real and self-created responsibilities, forget the hurt, the past and the pain for just a little while. Let your body do what you are convinced it doesn’t know how to do; let it lead you home. Connect. Commune. Wonder. Inhabit. And for just a little while, may your destination not be nearly as important as your journey. As they say in Jamaica, “Walk gud my friend, walk gud.”*

*An expression used to wish good fortune and a good trip on departing travelers (Wiwords)

December 2, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

JOBS: Executive Director of UCLA's Office of Public Interest Programs

Via Prof. Lisa Mead:





The UCLA School of Law is seeking a creative institution builder with sustained experience in public interest work to lead the School’s Office of Public Interest Programs (OPIP). OPIP is the principal intellectual and information center for public interest at UCLA School of Law. OPIP’s mission is to engage law students, faculty, lawyers, and the broader community in public service, through education, dialogue, and career development.

OPIP, as our overall public interest umbrella, has a range of important functions. OPIP engages students, alumni, and faculty in dialogue on a range of public interest topics by hosting a speaker series. It also serves as the career services office for students interested in pursuing summer and post-graduate positions in public interest and government, including by hosting panels on career choices, coordinating an annual public interest career day and other recruiting events, facilitating pro bono volunteer opportunities, and participating in and supervising public interest and government career counseling for students and alumni.

OPIP also oversees UCLA Law’s Summer Public Service Fellowship program, post-graduate public interest fellowships, and Loan Repayment Assistance Program for alumni in public service careers.  Finally, and importantly, OPIP administers our distinctive David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy (the Epstein Program, often known as EPILP), which attracts students with exceptional public interest backgrounds and trains them to become effective lawyers and leaders in a range of public interest settings.

The Executive Director will plan and oversee all aspects of OPIP, in close collaboration with the Epstein Program Faculty Director and Core Faculty, as well as other relevant law school faculty and administrators. The Executive Director will be responsible for the initiatives described above and will have the opportunity to expand and grow OPIP. The Executive Director will work to advance the School of Law’s public interest curricular offerings, including the Epstein Program’s core curriculum, and provide individualized academic counseling to support Epstein Program students in completing the Specialization. The Executive Director will serve as the principal spokesperson of OPIP both within the School and to external audiences, including through presentations and participation in conferences and other public events, and will strengthen existing relationships and develop new relationships with public interest alumni, public interest employers, and other allies. The Executive Director is expected to have substantial experience in and commitment to public interest work, as well as leadership and fundraising capacity, which will be crucial to the growth and development of OPIP.

This is a year-round, academic, non-tenure track position with an expected start date of June 1, 2017.

Minimum academic requirements include a J.D. or equivalent advanced degree from a U.S. school and an excellent academic record. The ideal candidate will have at least five years of practice in public interest and/or government work or comparable experience, as well as significant leadership capacity and initiative. The salary and level of appointment will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Confidential review of applications, nominations and expressions of interest will begin immediately and will continue until an appointment is made. To ensure full consideration, applications should be received by Friday, January 13, 2017 but will be considered thereafter until the position is filled. Please apply online at by submitting a cover letter, resume, and the names and addresses of at least three professional references.

The University of California seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve the people of California, to maintain the excellence of the University, and to offer our students richly varied disciplines, perspectives and ways of knowing and learning. 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.

November 30, 2016 in Job Opportunities & Fellowships | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 28, 2016

5 Questions for Emily Broad Leib

In the spirit of thanksgiving and the abundance of food most of us partook in last week, I thought this would be a great time to continue that theme and learn about the amazing Food Law and Policy Clinic that Emily Broad Leib supervises at Harvard.  Here's a recent interview I had with Emily about the interesting work she is doing.  Enjoy!

  1. I recently saw that Fortune and Food & Wine Magazines named you as the number one most influential woman in food and drink for 2016. This seems like a pretty big deal! 

For the past three years, Food & Wine and Fortune Magazine have put out a list of the most innovative women in food & drink. I was incredibly surprised and humbled to be included at the top of the list! This honor was mostly in recognition of the work of my clinic, the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC), on the issue of food waste. 62.5 million tons of food is wasted annually in the U.S., presenting a grave threat to our economy, health, and environment. While there are a variety of reasons for this pervasive waste, we’ve come to learn that much of this waste results from laws regulating the food system.

My work in date labels and the broader issue of food waste began from a clinic project we conducted on behalf of Daily Table, an organization that aims to increase access to healthy and affordable food by rescuing and selling surplus foods that would have otherwise gone to waste. To answer Daily Table’s legal questions, clinic students examined the laws in Massachusetts regarding date labels on food. When we zoomed out from Massachusetts to see what surrounding states were doing, we found a dizzying array of state laws, many of which restrict sale or donation of past-date foods. This is despite the fact that these dates are generally intended as indicators of quality, not safety, and for the most part food will still be safe and wholesome after that date has passed. Our work on date labels continues, and we’ve branched out to tackle other policies impacting food waste, such as food safety regulations, tax incentives for food donation, and liability protections for food donation.

  1. You are currently (among many other things), the Director of the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic. There are few law schools, if any, that have this type of clinic.  Could you please take a moment to describe the impetus for this clinic and the types of projects and cases on which students work?

When I was in law school, my main focus was human rights law. I didn’t know anything about food policy until my post-law-school fellowship in the Mississippi Delta, working with community partners improve health and economic opportunity in that region. Early in my time, community partners asked for legal assistance regarding local farmers markets. Food is closely linked to both health and economic opportunity. The Mississippi Delta is an agricultural region, yet there was hardly any production of food, and severe food access challenges. At the same time, many Mississippians were exploring opportunities to produce and sell farm products, but faced legal barriers. Communities around the country were struggling with similar legal and policy questions, and I learned that law students were eager to work on these issues. The Food Law and Policy Clinic aims to meet these needs. The mission of the clinic is to increase access to healthy food, support small-scale and sustainable food producers in breaking into new commercial markets, and reduce the waste of healthy, wholesome food.

In order to better explain the type of work that we do, I’ll continue on the topic of date labels described above. Since our initial project with Daily Table, students have had the opportunity to create a range of reports, resources, and materials, including:

  • Preparing a confidential legal memo on date label laws, liability protections, and food safety risks for our client organization, Daily Table.
  • Drafting a major national report, The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste (published in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council), which analyzes the laws regarding date labels and explains how these labels contribute to an alarming amount of unnecessary food waste.
  • Helping to plan, produce, edit, and distribute a short film about the problem of misleading date labels, entitled EXPIRED? Food Waste in America.
  • Providing guidance to federal legislators in drafting of the Food Date Labeling Act, which was introduced in 2016 in the U.S. House and Senate and aims to clarify and standardize date labels nationally.
  • Helping me to prepare and provide testimony on date labels and other food waste policy issues to the House Agriculture Committee as part of the first-ever federal hearing on food waste, entitled Food Waste from Field to Table.

When I first started FLPC, we were the only food law and policy clinic in the nation, but this field is growing, and we are working hard to help build the field. The past two years, we hosted the Food Law Student Leadership Summit, which brought together 100 law students from 50 law schools nationally to learn about pressing food law and policy issues and network with one another and with leading faculty and attorneys in this field. And this year, we helped launch the Food Law Student Network (for students) and the Academy of Food Law and Policy (for faculty and institutions). This academic year, we are leading a consortium of nine clinics and programs at seven law schools to examine and propose recommendations for the U.S. Farm Bill. It is exciting to see this field grow, and to work with fantastic colleagues and partners around the country!

  1. As a clinician, I think it’s so important for our students to see our passion for the clients and issues we serve.  Why do you have a passion for the type of legal advocacy you are taking part in at Harvard through the Food Law and Policy Clinic? 

I feel incredibly lucky that my work aligns with my passions. As mentioned above, I went to law school to pursue a career in human rights. What can be more basic than helping communities to pursue the right to food, by providing access to affordable, safe, and healthy food? I also value the opportunity that I have to be creative. Food law and policy is still a nascent field, which provides ample opportunities for finding new solutions and brainstorming creative approaches. Lastly, I love the educational part of my work – exposing law students to the field of food law and offering them opportunities to practice policy and advocacy skills, which have not typically been part of the law school curriculum.

  1. You are also the Deputy Director of the Harvard Law School Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation. I can potentially envision synergies between both of the clinics you supervise.   

Yes, there are incredible synergies! The FLPC is one of two clinics housed within the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation; the other is the Health Law and Policy Clinic (HLPC). While there are certainly distinctions between the substance of the two clinics, there is also a lot of overlap and we have worked together on several major initiatives. One is a project called Providing Access to Healthy Solutions (PATHS), which was a four-year project focused on state and federal policy solutions to reduce type 2 diabetes. The other is our Food is Medicine initiative, which identifies key legal and policy levers to help increase access to healthy food as part of both prevention and treatment of chronic disease. The concept of food is medicine is still novel, but is quickly gaining traction. Our team undertakes a variety of research and advocacy to promote the effective integration of food into healthcare coverage where applicable.

  1. Speaking of synergies, what are some creative ways the directors/faculty/supervisors of the numerous legal clinics at your school stay connected with each other?

Harvard is lucky to have a very large and robust clinical program, but because of the size it is difficult to stay connected. Fortunately, we have a variety of cross-clinical working groups and committees, including a clinical workshop committee that organizes workshops on topics such as clinical scholarship, use of technology, and better addressing race and diversity in our clinics. We also have periodic social gatherings and holiday parties that bring together clinicians. I also work closely with our other clinics, as food overlaps with many other topics. In addition to our collaboration with the Health Law and Policy Clinic (mentioned above), we have also conducted clinical projects in partnership with the Emmett Environmental Law Clinic, International Human Rights Clinic, and Transactional Law Clinics. I love these cross-clinic partnerships because they offer a great opportunity to bring together different expertise to help solve problems!

November 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Pepperdine's Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic Advocating for Prisoner Rights

I am very proud of our brilliant students in the Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic, under the direction of Prof. Jeremy Rosen.  Please see this story with video of their recent oral argument in San Francisco where they represented our client, a detainee suing the Maricopa County (Arizona) Jail for civil rights violations. They did excellent work. 

Here is a brief description of the case:

The Ninth Circuit appointed the Pepperdine Ninth Circuit Clinic to represent pre-trial detainee Charles Byrd who filed a section 1983 lawsuit challenging Maricopa County’s practice of having female guards routinely observe male inmates at extremely close quarters while they are using the toilets and taking showers. Such cross-gender observations have been routinely disallowed when the guards are male and the prisoners are female and case law suggests the same should be the case here. The district court exercised its authority under the Prison Litigation Reform Act to dismiss Byrd’s lawsuit at the screening stage. The students argued on appeal that such dismissal was improper because Byrd plainly stated a claim for constitutional violation.

November 23, 2016 in Clinic Victories, Current Affairs, Prisoner's Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Sunrise in Kingston

Dear All,

Exercising gratitude seems to be more akin to a skill than anything else.  It is not something that comes naturally to me, though I wish I could claim the opposite. I would love to be a person who walks around in the Disney version of the world, singing with a bluebird on my shoulder, believing the best in myself and in my fellow humans, but unfortunately this just isn’t my innate reality.  In fact, as I age, I find myself more inclined to pessimism, pragmatism, realism (whatever your flavor). I crave comfort, stability, and certainty and yet, the older I get, the more I also realize that this is a way of being which I will never be given. The world is a spectrum with no black or white, composed of varying stages of gray that muddle, nuance and jumble up the certainty I so desire.

The truth reveals itself to me over and over and over again: you are constantly changing, everything is movement, in flux, shifting, even those things you believed would last forever can become distant memories, but do not worry, you have and always will adapt. Sometimes this adaptation process is miserable.  It can be incredibly myopic, panicked and painful to trudge through; there are times when I fail to use healthy coping skills, falling into co-dependent relationships, eating every cookie in my path, and isolating from those who bring me home to myself. And there are also times when I adapt with a little more grace. One tool that has helped me accept uncertainty with wonder instead of fear is gratitude: holding it widely and expressing it liberally and openly, is one of the ways I move into better space. During these moments, I realize that darkness and difficulty absolutely have their place in my life. Without these, I would never experience the joy, empowerment and pride that comes with triumphing over adversity.  Without these, I would take for granted and fail to relish that which I find precious in my life.  Sad songs wills always have their place in my world.  Trouble and dissonance will as well. For with these hardships, opportunities for transformation abound. So today, I’m shouting from the blogosphere my gratitude because I deeply want this to be a time of great transformation for me personally and for society. Right now, I’m calling it -- we are about to become much more complex, amazing and beautiful versions of ourselves, even if it hurts. And I will get through the hurt by embracing what I am grateful for over and over and over again. So...

To the safety-pinners, thank you for showing me that I am valued even when I have received messages telling me that my life and my vote do not matter. To community activist, educators and leaders, who I aspire to be like and push me to do more, who say we can never rest, and who unceasingly remind me that I need to continually educate myself and learn from people who are impacted by whatever cause I happen to be fighting for: “because those closest to the problem are often closest to the solution,” thank you. To those friends who have become family, I can never thank you enough for how you’ve bounded us together with ties of unending and constant presence, through all the busy, over oceans, with songs and videos, laughter and commiseration, lifting me up and bringing me home to myself, reminding me of my beauty and my value when I start to doubt it; my only desire is that I can return all that you have given me.  To those who voted differently from me but who have taken time to have meaningful conversations about their reasons, helping me to form a more complete picture of the range of viewpoints and ideas that exist beyond my own, thank you. And to the sun who teaches me a great lesson daily, you cause me to sweat pools of sweat that I didn’t even know I could while you dry my clothes that are out on the line, you burn my skin while I swim in the ocean that you heat, you seemingly disappear during your omnipresent cycle, but I’m always happy to see the light you bring upon your return; your capability to both sustain and destroy, amazes me -- my health and my humanity are tied up in learning how and when to bask in you and take shelter from you.

Eternally grateful,

Inga N. Laurent

(Sunrise in Kingston) 


November 15, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Call for Proposals: ILTL Summer Conference: Teaching Cultural Competency and Other Professional Skills Suggested by ABA Standard 302

Via Prof. Kelly Terry:




Institute for Law Teaching and Learning—Summer 2017 Conference

Teaching Cultural Competency and Other Professional Skills Suggested by ABA Standard 302

July 7-8, 2017

University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law


ABA Standard 302 requires all law schools to establish learning outcomes in certain areas, such as knowledge of substantive and procedural law, legal analysis and reasoning, and the exercise of professional and ethical responsibilities.  While requiring outcomes in these areas, however, the ABA also has given law schools discretion under Standard 302(d) to individualize their programs by establishing learning outcomes related to “other professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession.”  These other professional skills “are determined by the law school and may include skills such as  interviewing, counseling, negotiation, fact development and analysis, trial practice, document drafting, conflict resolution, organization and management of legal work, collaboration, cultural competency and self-evaluation.”  This language encourages law schools to be innovative and to differentiate themselves by creating learning outcomes that are consistent with their own unique values and particular educational mission.  

The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning invites proposals for conference workshops addressing the many ways that law schools are establishing learning outcomes related to “other professional skills,” particularly the skills of cultural competency, conflict resolution, collaboration, self-evaluation, and other relational skills.  Which, if any, of the outcomes suggested in Standard 302(d) have law schools established for themselves, and why did they select those outcomes?  How are law professors teaching and assessing skills such as cultural competency, conflict resolution, collaboration, and self-evaluation?  Have law schools established outcomes related to professional skills other than those suggested in Standard 302(d)?  If so, what are those skills, and how are professors teaching and assessing them?

The Institute welcomes proposals for workshops on the teaching and assessment of such skills in doctrinal, clinical, externship, writing, seminar, hybrid, and interdisciplinary courses.  Workshops can address the teaching or assessment of such skills in first-year courses, upper-level courses, required courses, electives, academic support teaching, or extracurricular programs.  Workshops can present innovative teaching materials, teaching methods, course designs, assessment methods, curricular, or program designs.  Each workshop should include materials that participants can use during the workshop and also when they return to their campuses.  Presenters should model best practices in teaching methods by actively engaging the workshop participants.  

The Institute invites proposals for 60-minute workshops consistent with a broad interpretation of the conference theme.  To be considered for the conference, proposals should be one single-spaced page (maximum) and should include the following information:

  • the title of the workshop;
  • the name, address, telephone number, and email address of the presenter(s);
  • a summary of the contents of the workshop, including its goals and methods; and
  • an explanation of the interactive teaching methods the presenter(s) will use to engage the audience.


The Institute must receive proposals by February 1, 2017.  Submit proposals via email to Kelly Terry, Co-Director, Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, at


Conference Details


Schedule of Events:

The UALR Bowen School of Law will host a welcome reception on the evening of Thursday, July 6.  The conference will consist of concurrent workshop sessions that will take place at the law school all day on Friday, July 7 and until the early afternoon on Saturday, July 8.  


Travel and Lodging:

A block of hotel rooms for conference attendees has been reserved at the Little Rock Marriot Hotel, 3 Statehouse Plaza, Little Rock, AR 72201.  The discounted rate will be available until June 5, 2017.  Reservations may be made online by using this link: Group rate for UALR School of Law Room Block July 2017.  Reservations also may be made by calling the hotel’s reservations department at 877-759-6290 and referencing the UALR Bowen School of Law/ ILTL Conference Room Block.



The conference fee for participants is $400, which includes materials, meals during the conference (two breakfasts and two lunches), and the welcome reception on Thursday evening, July 6.  The conference fee for presenters is $300.  


For more information:

Please visit our website ( or contact one of the ILTL Co-Directors:


Professor Kelly Terry; 501-324-9946


Professor Emily Grant; 785-670-1677


Associate Dean Sandra Simpson; 509-313-3809

November 12, 2016 in Conferences and Meetings, RFP | Permalink | Comments (0)