Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Today I had the opportunity to discuss clinical law teaching as a method to advance social justice in a private meeting I can't say much about except that I left it invigorated.
Over the past three days I have felt anything but invigorated as I watched, read, listened to, and pondered media coverage and expert commentary on the massive implosion of community non-development and public non-safety in the much beloved and misunderstood Charm City of Baltimore.
This month, my students have been stressed out and frustrated but they have also filed a petition to help a client get access to a vehicle to travel the 30 miles to her job as a maid; counseled a client through issues about her own life-threatening illness and how it may or may not impact her potential filing for divorce; and researched best practices on reporting gender-based violence on campus to advocate for its victims.
What is next for social justice can seem elusive in our world of declining law school applications, a wounded economy that may never fully recover, violence in our streets, and a social media-centric culture that distracts our students and ourselves constantly and often lacks any meaningful results.
Yet we adapt. We listen to the call for legal assistance for Baltimore that went out on this blog and hundreds of other online lists this week. We listen to our students when they put down their phones and ask us to review their draft petition. We listen to our clients when they vent about the system, and we nod and say we agree and we mean that. We do agree. The system is porous. It is messed up.
Social justice is hard to hear. It whispers. But when we stand still, in these spaces we create to cultivate it, we hear that whisper. And stand ready to start anew each day in our journey through this work, and we respond to that whisper in the words of the brilliant Maya Angelou: "Good morning."
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
UPDATE: We're meeting on the patio outside the Fireside Lounge at the Westin. See you soon.
Friends, Writers, Readers,
The Clinical Law Prof Blog community will gather for an informal, not-hosted, meet up at the AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday night, May 6, somewhere in the Westin. (Watch this space, the Facebook page and @ClinicalLawProf for the location TBD).
It is impossible to plan a gathering that does not conflict with other worthy gatherings at this mighty conference, but if you can, please save the time and join us for conversation, refreshments and pleasantries.
Monday, April 27, 2015
We have just received a call for help from our fellow clinicians in Baltimore.
"Lawyers and law students are needed for jail support and legal observing for demonstrations in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. We are building an infrastructure to support community organizations in Baltimore who are exercising their civil and human rights."
There is a immediate need for attorneys licensed in Maryland with criminal defense and civil rights experience.
If you would like more information, please see the following website: http://www.fergusonlegaldefense.com/baltimore
Via Prof. Kelly Terry, a request for nominations for the best law mentors in the country:
I am writing to ask for your help with a new research project. A team of my colleagues here at University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law, Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz, Professor Terri Beiner, Professor Kelly Browe Olson, and I, are launching a study of the best law mentors in the country. We recently signed a contract with the Harvard University Press to publish our results.
We need your help finding the best mentors. Our goal is to identify attorney mentors who transform junior lawyers’ careers and even lives, study those mentors in depth, and understand why they are so effective. Based on this research, we will identify and describe a set of behaviors, attitudes, and habits that are characteristic of the best law mentors. We hope to produce a work that is a manual for attorneys who aspire to be transformative mentors, a benefit to legal employers for hiring and training mentors, and a tool more junior lawyers might use to find good mentors. Thus, anyone (you, your colleagues, or your alumni) who contributes to our study by nominating a mentor will both honor a great colleague and help move the profession forward by improving lawyer mentoring.
The methodology for the study will be qualitative and similar to the approach Dean Schwartz and his co-authors used for What the Best Law Teachers Do (Harvard University Press, 2013). We will solicit nominations, gather evidence of nominees’ excellence, and pare the list to the most extraordinary legal mentors. We will then study the mentors where they work, interviewing both the mentors and focus groups of current and former mentees. We also hope to observe mentoring interactions. We will sift through the information we gather, identify what the best mentors have in common and areas of important difference, and organize the book by the common themes identified through this process. We plan to finish our research over the next three years and complete the book, What the Best Law Mentors Do, by January 2019.
Here is a link to the website we have created for the book, http://www.bestlawmentors.com, and here is a link to the page we are using to solicit and receive the nominations, http://www.bestlawmentors.com/nominate-a-mentor.html. Please feel free to make nominations yourself.
We are hoping you will share the links with your colleagues, alumni, large local employers, and state bar associations. We would be very grateful for your help with our efforts to find great mentors. We suspect the mentors nominated for the study will be flattered by the nominations, and the ones we choose to study in depth will appreciate the publicity resulting from selection as one of the best mentors in the country. If a nominated mentor chooses to remain anonymous or does not wish to participate, however, we will not pursue the nomination.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
The 1Ls filled the big classrooms, grinding through Contracts, in perpetual states of anxiety, fear and exhaustion. In the atrium, a few 2Ls and 3Ls relaxed on benches and chairs. Some chatted over their wraps and snack bars and Nalgene bottles. Some highlighted cases and book-briefed cases for the next class. Some disappeared behind screens and headphones. One napped without shame, her hood over her eyes, sprawled on a couch. The space was public, but their possession was open and notorious. Their domicile is the law school, and the atrium is their residence.
On the balcony above, two professors stopped to talk about the Dodgers’ strong start. A student hovered nearby, waiting for her chance to ask a quick question, worrying if she were near enough to get their attention without being intrusive. Across the way, an administrative assistant backed out of the library and hoisted a bulky box full of blue books and Scantron sheets.
When the phone rang, most folks reached for their mobile devices. The Boomers did not notice anything peculiar. The Gen Xers recalled the hint of a bygone sensation, and their minds toggled to an emerging memory dredged up from childhood. The Millennials registered the anachronism first, because the ring was too loud, too insistent and all the way across the room. Nothing vibrated in their hands, and no one raised a phone to their ears. It was an actual, honest to goodness bell. For a few of them, this was a brand new experience.
All eyes turned to the pay phone on the wall that none of them had noticed before. It rang again. No one moved to answer it, and everyone wondered who would. They think like lawyers, and all of them were analyzing the facts, their duty to answer, the defenses for not answering, the potential liability attaching if they did answer, the ownership of the phone, the likelihood of needing to help whomever was calling, the time before the next class, and the social cost of being the one person to do the peculiar thing. It stopped ringing.
Their obligation, if any, was waived. The professors asked each other if they had ever noticed that pay phone before. The hovering student chuckled to make herself heard and to move up the conversation queue. The sleeper slept, and the people who had taken out their ear-buds put them back in.
One of the professors wondered why the law school still paid for a pay phone if they couldn’t afford more research assistants. The other said that it would probably not survive the renovations planned for the summer.
It rang again. Everyone stopped, looked at the phone and looked at each other. They dared each other to answer it. One of the professors looked over the rail at a group of her students and pointed, “Come on, y’all, somebody answer that thing! It won’t bite.”
“No way! That’s how horror movies start,” said the articles editor for the law review, a once aspiring actress. She got laughs, but no one stirred. It rang and kept ringing. It did not switch over to voicemail.
With a shrug, a 3L marked his place with a highlighter and walked across the room. All eyes on him, when he put his hand on the blue receiver, it stopped ringing. The tension broke as he shook his head and returned to his cases, but it rang again before he made it back to his study group.
“Go faster,” commanded his moot court partner.
“Fine!” He put his hand on the phone, and it rang again.
Pausing a beat, he answered, “Hello?”
Everyone watched him as he became increasingly cross and concerned. “Ma’am…” he tried to interrupt the caller, “… Ma’am? Could you, could you hang on just a second?” He looked at the keys to find a mute button but gave up and put his hand over the receiver. “Is anyone in a clinic? She’s calling about the clinic.”
“Yeah,” an eager 2L said as she grabbed a pad and pen. She was all about client intake, just not usually with an audience. She took the receiver from the 3L who was happy to let her take over. “Hello?”
Tethered to the phone, she perched her legal pad on her knee and leaned against the wall. Most of the students went back to their work. One of the professors walked down and stood nearby to keep watch over the student.
“Yes, ma’am, but do you know which clinic represented you?” She made a note but shook her head. “I don’t know that clinic. I’m in another one, but I can ask….” She struggled to take more notes. For long stretches she tried to listen, tried to take notes, tried to understand. She tried to catalog a story, but she couldn’t get a question in edgewise.
“Ma’am, do you have a number…. Ma’am?” She stood up straight and spoke louder, “Ma’am, are you there? Can you hear me? I think we dropped the call? Hello?” She hung up and looked at her teacher. “That was weird.”
“What did she say?” The professor directed the law school’s elder law clinic and had taught the student in her professional responsibility class the previous semester.
“Well, she was talking really fast and said she didn’t have much time. I think she said that the Family Law Clinic had worked with her on a custody order before she went to jail but that she had just gotten out and wanted to see her kid.” She looked at her scratchy notes. “I think. She was mad. She was talking really fast, and it was hard to understand her. She said she was running out of time, and didn’t have any change? Does that make sense?”
“Yeah,” the professor smiled. “She was calling from a pay phone, and you have to pay for the time you talk. If she was the one trying to call before we answered it, she probably ran out of money.”
“Oh. I wonder how she got this number. Do we have a family law clinic?”
“We used to, but the funding ran out a few years ago. We transitioned the practice to other clinics when we got new grants, but that was like 15 years ago. Did she say who helped her?”
The student checked her notes, “Um, Tracy? Tracy something?”
“Tracy Welty, probably. She was a professor, but she retired. She moved back home, somewhere in the South, I think. I wonder if we still have the client files. Do you know her name?”
“She was talking too fast. It was a sketchy connection. She said it, Tamika, Tamara, something, but I didn’t catch her last name. It was very loud where she was.”
“Did you get a number?”
“No, but if she was calling from a pay phone, I don’t know how we can get her. Can we call the number back? I don’t even know where she was. ”
“I don’t think so.”
“What should I do? “
They pondered for a moment. The professor asked, “What clinic are you in?”
“The Immigration Clinic. We don’t handle family law things.”
“I know. Neither do I. Why don’t you ask Prof. Williams what she thinks, and I’ll ask some of the older folks if they remember a case like this.”
The student capped her pen and flipped her legal pad back to her class notes. “I feel bad for her. I hope she calls back.”
The doors to the big classrooms opened, and the first-years poured out into the common area. The professor smiled at the student, “You did a good job. We do what we can.”
The professor headed back to the faculty suite. The students packed up, and most of them moved toward the auditorium. A guest speaker was giving a talk on something, and there was free pizza for lunch.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Come experience beautiful Spokane this summer.
The Institute for Law Teaching & Learning will present its summer conference on June 13-14, 2015, at Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington. The theme for this conference is Experiential Learning Across the Curriculum.
Benefits to Participants: during the conference, participants can expect to encounter many new ideas about teaching, learning, and incorporating experiential learning across the curriculum so that we can better prepare “practice ready” lawyers. In addition, the conference, which includes long scheduled breaks, is intended to facilitate informal interaction among creative teachers who love their work with students. Participants should leave the conference inspired and informed about incorporating experiential learning into their own classes.
For more information, click here.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
2015 CLEA Award for Outstanding Advocate for Clinical Teachers and Award for for Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project
Via Prof. Anju Gupta (emphasis added):
The CLEA Board of Directors is thrilled to announce that Claudia Angelos, Clinical Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, is the recipient of the 2015 CLEA Award for Outstanding Advocate for Clinical Teachers. The CLEA Board is equally thrilled to announce that the Saint Louis University School of Law Legal Clinics are the recipients of the 2015 CLEA Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project for their work on civil rights and criminal justice abuses highlighted by the death of Michael Brown.
Outstanding Advocate for Clinical Teachers:
Claudia Angelos joined the faculty of New York University School of Law in 1980. She teaches lawyering and litigation and directs the Civil Rights Clinic, the Racial Justice Clinic, and the New York Civil Liberties Clinic at NYU Law. She is a national expert on prisoners’ rights and during her thirty-five years at NYU, she and her students have litigated more than 100 civil rights cases in the New York federal courts. Claudia has also been a long-time advocate for clinic education and has served in leadership positions on the boards of both CLEA and the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT). She has been “the guiding force in countless board meetings, committee meetings, conference calls and email loops” in both CLEA and SALT, her nominators noted in their letter of support, and “[d]ozens of comments, letters, briefs and notices have been drafted and issued with her participation and guidance.” They highlight in particular Claudia’s work on behalf of the clinical community in the American Bar Association (ABA) accreditation standards revision process. Claudia has, in the words of her nominators, be an “unflagging, zealous and skilled” advocate for clinicians, helping “lead the successful battle to reaffirm clinical status, to increase the minimum required skills credits, and to identify practical skills as a critical part of the learning outcomes to be expected of all students.” Over the last six years, Claudia has attended virtually every meeting of the ABA Standards Review Committee and many meetings of the Council on Legal Education, developing working relationships with members of the Committee and Council to inform and influence the deliberations. “While many challenges remain and we have not solved all our problems,” Claudia’s nominators conclude, "clinical education has come out of the comprehensive review in a much stronger position than we imagined at the beginning of the process. Claudia was the keystone and well deserves our recognition.”
Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project:
Located in the heart of downtown St. Louis, the Saint Louis University School of Law Legal Clinics are dedicated to advocating for the disadvantaged and the betterment of the community at large while providing unique and challenging experiential learning opportunities for students interested in public interest law. The Legal Clinics have provided pro bono legal services to the community for more than 41 years and currently provide legal services in six clinical programs (Civil Advocacy, Criminal Defense, Entrepreneurship and Community Development, Externships, Judicial Process Externship and Mediation) that house 10 practice areas.
In the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death, a few things were abundantly clear: their community would forever be changed, deep-seated issues of mistrust and injustice continue to roadblock regional growth and, if there was any community poised to effect change, it was the St. Louis legal community.
Guided by the University’s social justice mission, the attorneys of the SLU LAW Legal Clinics wasted no time involving their clinical practice areas in the search for solutions. In fact, they have been involved in many of the issues Ferguson brought attention to long before they came under such a bright national spotlight. With a small staff of seven attorneys (Professors Amany Hacking, Brendan Roediger, Dana Malkus, John Ammann, Patricia Harrison, Patricia Lee, Susan McGraugh), one social worker (Lauren Choate), Professor of Practice (Steve Hanlon), two staff (Greta Henderson and LeAnn Upton) and many dedicated clinic students, the Legal Clinics found a variety of ways to engage students, faculty and the community during the 2014-2015 academic year.
The related legal work and advocacy involved multiple responses on a variety of legal matters including: community outreach and education; national, state and local media awareness of civil rights and criminal law abuses; lawsuits in state and federal courts on municipal warrant and tear gassing abuses; testimony before the governor-appointed Ferguson Commission; municipal, legislative and executive testimony; and leading meetings and panel discussions at the law school and in the community in an effort to seek solutions. Together, these professors, as representatives of the Legal Clinics, continue to bring attention to vital issues, fight for those who seek justice but do not have the means to fight themselves and work towards real solutions for a just future, all while teaching and mentoring their students to do the same.
Both awards will be presented at the AALS luncheon at the Clinical Conference on Wednesday, May 6th. The Committee received an unusually large number of outstanding nominations this year. At Wednesday's luncheon, we will give honorable mention to some schools that had particularly impressive projects.
The CLEA Board acknowledges with gratitude the efforts of the CLEA Awards Committee:
Geneva Brown (Valparaiso)
Anju Gupta, Co-Chair (Rutgers-Newark)
Perry Moriearty, Co-Chair (Minnesota)
Kele Stewart (Miami)
Jane Stoever (Irvine)
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Via Danny Schaffizin:
Visiting Assistant Professor of Law
Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic
University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law is seeking a Visiting Assistant
Professor of Law to direct and teach a new Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic to be created as part
of the Memphis Children’s Health Law Directive (Memphis CHiLD), an innovative alliance
between the School of Law, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, and Memphis Area Legal Services.
The full-time, twelve-month position will begin on July 1, 2015 and will include doctrinal
teaching responsibilities of one course per semester in addition to the teaching and supervisory
duties related to the Medical-Legal Partnership. Subject to approval, funding is available to allow
the position to be renewed on an annual basis for three years.
Under the direction of the Visiting Assistant Professor, the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic will
supervise students in providing legal services to Le Bonheur patients and their families; develop
an interdisciplinary education curriculum focused on the social determinants of health and the
legal, policy, and other issues affecting the well-being and healthcare access of low-income
children; and engage in systemic advocacy that seeks to improve health outcomes for low-income
children. The Visiting Assistant Professor will also partner with and draw on the assessment and
research expertise of the Law School’s Institute for Health Law and Policy (iHeLP), as well as
Memphis community stakeholders, to evaluate the impact of the Medical-Legal Partnership in
utilizing law and policy to advance children’s health.
Candidates should be prepared to present their comprehensive vision for teaching, administering,
growing, and cultivating enduring support for the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic. In addition
to directing and teaching the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, it is anticipated that the Visiting
Assistant Professor will teach two additional courses based on the needs of the law school. For
duties related to the Medical-Legal Partnership, the Visiting Assistant Professor will report
directly to the Director of Experiential Learning, and will work closely with the Dean, Director of
iHeLP, and Faculty on the development of the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic.
Candidates must possess a J.D. or equivalent law degree and must be admitted to practice in
Tennessee or willing to seek admission to the Tennessee bar as soon as practically possible
following appointment. See TN Supreme Court Rule 7, Section 10.02 (Attorneys in Clinical and
Related Law School Programs). Among other qualifications, candidates should have a minimum
of five (5) years of legal practice experience; a demonstrated interest in serving lower-income
individuals and communities, substantial experience or interest in working with healthcare
professionals and students; a strong desire to supervise and work with students; and a
commitment to building community relationships and programs.
Applicants should submit a letter of interest, resume, and list of three references to Professor
Daniel Kiel, Chair, MLP Faculty Recruitment Committee, at email@example.com. Write
“Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic Application” in the subject line of the email. Preference will
be given to applications received by April 27, 2015, although applications will be accepted until
the position is filled.
The University of Memphis School of Law recently celebrated its 50th anniversary in its new building, the newly restored U.S. Customs House in downtown Memphis. A $48 million project,
the structure offers a magnificent setting for learning and teaching and has been recognized as one of the finest law school facilities in the nation and the world. Memphis is a beautiful and diverse city with affordable real estate and an excellent quality of life. The city is known for its friendly atmosphere, revitalized downtown, and attractions such as Graceland, Beale Street, Opera Memphis, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Memphis Zoo, NBA Grizzlies, Memphis Tigers basketball team, National Civil Rights Museum, and nationally recognized theatre companies.
While the School of Law does not treat race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age,
disability, or sexual orientation as dispositive in hiring decisions, the School has a strong
institutional commitment to hiring persons who will add to its diversity. The University of
Memphis is an EEO/AA employer.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Read this great news from Prof. Jayesh Rathod:
The Executive Committee of the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education is pleased to announce that Professor JoNel Newman, Professor of Clinical Education and Director of the Health Rights Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law, has been selected as the 2015 recipient of the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education's M. Shanara Gilbert Award. We will honor JoNel and present the award at a luncheon on Tuesday, May 5, at the Conference on Clinical Legal Education in Rancho Mirage, CA.
As you know, the M. Shanara Gilbert Award honors an "emerging clinician," with ten or fewer years of experience who has (1) a commitment to teaching and achieving social justice, particularly in the areas of race and the criminal justice system; (2) a passion for providing legal services and access to justice to individuals and groups most in need; (3) service to the cause of clinical legal education or to the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education; (4) an interest in international clinical legal education; and (5) an interest in the beauty of nature (desirable, but not required).
JoNel’s colleagues and students at the University of Miami submitted a compelling nomination packet, describing her long-standing commitment to social justice, creative pedagogical approaches, and commitment to serving marginalized communities in the Miami area and beyond. One nominator wrote of the significant contributions of the Health Rights Clinic that JoNel directs, noting that her students “have served over two thousand vulnerable health-impaired clients …. and have secured over two million dollars in entitlements and public benefits for their clients.” Her nominators wrote of a myriad of innovative and impactful community-based projects that JoNel has spearheaded, including initiatives relating to the Haitian diaspora, veterans’ rights, pediatric care, and more. JoNel’s students wrote that she “embodies the qualities sought in the recipient of the Shanara Gilbert Award” and her colleagues at Miami herald her “extraordinary efforts and contributions to clinical legal education, service, and justice.”
Please join us in congratulating JoNel on this important recognition!
The Executive Committee also gratefully acknowledges the hard work of the Awards Committee: Professor Sameer Ashar, UC-Irvine School of Law; Professor Margaret M. Barry, Vermont Law School (co-chair); Professor Dionne Gonder-Stanley, North Carolina Central School of Law; Professor Mary Lynch, Albany Law School (co-chair); and Professor Lisa Martin, Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Via Ms. Teresa Carlisle of the USD School of Law:
The University of South Dakota School of Law is happy to announce the Fall opening of South Dakota’s only Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC). The LITC seeks a director to begin July 1, who will continue developing the clinic for Fall semester. The director will teach, supervise and mentor students in the clinic. Application materials should be submitted electronically at https://yourfuture.sdbor.edu. Inquiries about applying should be directed to Tiffany Graham, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions about the clinic itself should be directed to Professor Allen Madison at email@example.com.
Friday, April 3, 2015
This week, the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault announced the recipients of the 20/20 Vision Awards: "The awards were created in honor of the important work accomplished by the passage of the VAWA and the creation of the CDSV 20 years ago. Recipients played an instrumental role in mobilizing the legal profession against domestic and sexual violence by either creating, supporting, advancing, or advocating for the CDSV or VAWA over the past two decades."
Among the recipients are two clinical professors, Prof. Margaret Drew of UMass and Prof. Sarah Buel of Arizona State. Through their work in clinics representing victims of domestic violence, their scholarship, activism and leadership, they have helped shape pathbreaking progress through VAWA and clinical education. They have been leaders and mentors to many attorneys and clinical professors in this work.
Congratulations, Margaret and Sarah!