Monday, September 23, 2019

CLEA: Social Justice in Legal Clinics: The Mercer Habeas Project

Cross-posted from the CLEA series on Social Justice in Legal Clinics. 

Each member of the CLEA Social Justice Issues Committee has been writing or soliciting projects to highlight in this series. For my contribution this semester, I reached out to my friend, Prof. Sarah Gerwig-Moore, now the academic dean at Mercer University School of Law, who founded the Mercer Habeas Project. This year, Brian Kammer, former director of the Georgia Appellate and Resource Center, assumed its leadership. They contributed this good report on the clinic’s work:

The Mercer Habeas Project was created in 2006 by Professor Sarah Gerwig-Moore, who was hired in that year to help create and teach in Mercer’s experiential learning program. The State of Georgia provides no right to counsel in post-conviction matters, so the clinic was created to help fill a void in legal services and because of Mercer’s particular strengths in legal writing. The course operates as a capstone clinic in which students put to use skills and prior coursework in constitutional law, criminal procedure, appellate practice, evidence, client counseling, and legal writing. A core value is to visit, spend time with, listen to, and partner with clinic clients—to provide client-centered representation and creative, attentive advocacy.


Most of the clinic’s cases involve entering and providing counsel in pro se criminal or habeas cases pending in the Supreme Court of Georgia. Since 2006, the Clinic has represented more than 80 clients, including dozens of oral arguments, court hearings, parole petitions, and appellate briefs (and often a number of those vehicles in cases over long periods of time). Over the years, the clinic has had major successes in areas of due process, affirmative defenses, provision of effective assistance of counsel, and access to the courts (including provision of effective translators in court proceedings). The students' work has been recognized with two "Case of the Year" Awards from the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and in SCOTUSblog's "Petitions We're Watching." Sarah Gerwig-Moore was the 2013 recipient of the AALS Clinical Legal Education Section's Shanara Gilbert Emerging Clinician award, in large part because of her work with this clinic.


The clinic has also weathered some hard losses, especially given the difficulty of overcoming procedural hurdles and statutes of limitation in older cases. Students and faculty have helped clients walk out of prison and rebuild their lives, packing suitcases with essentials and bringing them to the Greyhound Bus station. And students have stood vigil outside the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison while faculty witnessed their clients’ wrongful executions.


The Project provides client-centered representation, which means we spend a lot of time in prison with our clients—and then talking and processing about those visits in local food joints. The work doesn’t stop when students leave the classroom, and it is not uncommon for students to work on our cases over weekends and breaks. Prison visit days start early in the morning. Whether or not the clinic sees a positive outcome of its cases, an intentional focus of the clinic is reflection upon systemic injustices in how poor people are charged in and treated by the criminal system.


When Professor Gerwig-Moore moved into the role of Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in summer 2019, Mercer brought in Brian Kammer, former director of the Georgia Appellate and Resource Center, a nonprofit focusing on post-conviction litigation in Georgia’s capital cases. He brings with him more than twenty years of experience in habeas and appellate litigation, as well as a fresh perspective on the future of student work in the clinic.


September 23, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Diversity Imperative Revisited: Racial and Gender Inclusion in Clinical Law Faculty

The CLEA Committee for Faculty Equity and Inclusion (Profs. Deborah Archer of NYU, Sameer Ashar of UCLA, Caitlin Barry of Villanova, G.S. Hans of Vanderbilt, Derrick Howard of Valparaiso, Alexis Karteron of Rutgers, Shobha Mahadev of Northwestern, and Jeffrey Selbin of Berkeley) have published this essay in the Clinical Law Review

The piece calls on law schools to continue to improve demographic diversity among clinical faculties and calls for more research to better understand hiring and other dynamics. 

Here is the essay on SSRN with its abstract: 

The demographics of clinical law faculties matter. As Professor Jon Dubin persuasively argued nearly twenty years ago in his article Faculty Diversity as a Clinical Legal Education Imperative, clinical faculty of color entering the legal academy in the 1980s and 1990s expanded the communities served by law school clinics and the lawyering methods used to serve clients in significant ways that enriched legal education and the profession. They also broadened clinical scholarship to include deconstructions and reconstructions of clinical teaching, offered crucial role modeling and mentorship to students of color, and helped to elevate cross-cultural communication and multiracial collaboration as core lawyering skills.

Professor Dubin catalogued these contributions while pointing to data that showed that clinical faculties remained overwhelmingly White, and he urged law schools to recognize the urgency of diversifying clinical faculty. While there has been some research and scholarship devoted to the gender composition of clinical faculties, to our knowledge, there has been no substantive reexamination of the importance of racial composition since Professor Dubin’s article in 2000, nor any examination of clinical faculty diversity beyond race, ethnicity, and binary gender.

The Clinical Legal Education Association created the Committee for Faculty Equity and Inclusion to draw attention to the crisis of diversity among clinical faculties, and to urge law schools to take proactive steps to remedy this longstanding failure. This Essay from the Committee assesses what progress has been made since Professor Dubin’s intervention and interrogates historical trends in the racial and gender composition of clinical faculty from 1980 to 2017, using existing data.

We found that there has been limited progress on racial and ethnic inclusion in clinical law faculties. While the total percentage of people of color has grown from 10% to 21%, the inclusion of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous faculty has been largely stagnant. Black clinical faculty members reached 7% of all clinical faculty in 1999 and have never exceeded that percentage. Latinx clinical faculty representation, at 5%, is the same as it was in 1981. Indigenous faculty have never constituted even 1%. Overall, White faculty continue to hold nearly 8 out of 10 clinical faculty positions.

With regard to gender, whereas women were underrepresented among clinical faculty in the 1980s, women now outnumber men in clinical faculty positions by nearly 2 to 1. Given that women remain underrepresented in law faculties as a whole, this seemingly positive development in the gender composition of clinical instructors nonetheless raises concerns about internal status inequities and the clustering of women faculty members in non-tenured positions with lower salaries and less job protection, including on clinical, legal research and writing and library faculties. Therefore, this trend may be a cautionary tale for the inclusion of other underrepresented groups moving forward.

Acknowledging the limitations of existing data, we offer recommendations for future data collection that would recognize more inclusive identities and backgrounds. We suggest that future research assess job satisfaction and sustainability of faculty positions for people from historically disadvantaged groups to ensure that we are not just providing access to clinical law faculties, but also offering equitable and supportive working environments. New research will be crucial to developing a more meaningful understanding of inequities among clinical faculty, and to assessing equity and inclusion beyond descriptive representation.

We conclude with a discussion of best practices for inclusive clinical faculty hiring and suggestions for future initiatives that may make the profession more accessible. Looking back on Professor Dubin’s arguments, we are disheartened by the lack of subsequent scholarship on clinical faculty diversity, particularly with regard to racial and ethnic representation. We are concerned that it reflects a degree of complacency with structural racism at our own institutions and a failure to recognize the dissonance between the values we promote in our lawyering and our participation in maintaining barriers to the profession. We hope this Essay will disrupt that complacency and revive Professor Dubin’s arguments for a diversity imperative, which are even more resonant in the current moment.

September 21, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

JOBS: Tulane’s First Amendment Clinic and Immigrants’ Rights Clinic

Via Prof. Laila Hlass:


Tulane Law is thrilled to announce that we are hiring for a director and professor of practice to lead a soon to be established First Amendment Clinic. The Stanton Foundation, created by a longtime president of CBS News, has committed nearly $1 million to cover the full operating costs of the new clinic. To learn more about our plans, please read recent news about this initiative.


To apply, please submit materials here: description of the position and qualifications are listed below. Tulane Law also is hiring for a director and professor of practice for a newly established Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, and applicants for that position can apply here:, and read more about the position at the end of this email. 


Director of Tulane Law First Amendment Clinic & Professor of Practice

Tulane Law School seeks highly qualified applicants for a full-time position as Professor of the Practice of Law leading its newly created First Amendment Clinic. The position would begin during the 2020-21 academic year, starting on July 1, 2020, and would be on the non-tenured faculty track, with an initial appointment of three years. 

The candidate who fills the position will have primary responsibility for developing the new First Amendment Clinic; engaging in case selection, litigation, and other advocacy to promote the clinic's mission and goals; supervising clinic students in all aspects of the clinic’s work; teaching a related subject-matter seminar or course; convening an advisory committee of First Amendment faculty experts; and managing development activities in support of the clinic. As a Professor of the Practice of Law, the successful candidate will participate in and vote at faculty meetings and serve on faculty committees within the School of Law.



Qualifications for the position include:

  • A J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school and a strong academic record;
  • Experience in First Amendment and/or Constitutional matters;
  • Licensed bar membership in good standing in any one of the 50 states; 
  • 5 years of post-J.D. legal experience; and
  • A proven record of (or clear demonstrated potential for) successful teaching and professional engagement.
  • Candidates who teach in a law school legal clinic, who have prior experience supervising or teaching law students, or who have prior experience supervising attorneys in the area of First Amendment and/or Constitutional law matters are strongly preferred.


To apply, please complete the application form here

Tulane Law School is committed to faculty diversity and welcomes expressions of interest from diverse applicants. To learn more about the law school, visit our website at


Inquiries about the clinic should be directed to Professor Catherine Hancock, the chair of the First Amendment appointments committee.


Director of Tulane Law Immigrants’ Rights Clinic & Professor of Practice

TULANE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW seeks highly qualified applicants for a full-time professor of practice position leading its newly created Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. The position would begin during the 2020-21 academic year, starting on July 1, 2020, and would be on the non-tenured faculty track, with an initial appointment of three years.

The candidate who fills the position will have primary responsibility for developing the new Immigrants’ Rights Clinic; engaging in case selection, litigation, and other advocacy to promote the clinic's mission and goals; supervising clinic students in all aspects of the clinic’s work; teaching a related seminar course; and leading development efforts in support of the clinic.


Qualifications for the position include:
• A J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school and a strong academic record;
• Experience in immigration and/or immigrants’ rights matters;
• Licensed bar membership in good standing in any one of the 50 states;  
• 5 years of post-J.D. legal experience;
• A proven record of (or clear demonstrated potential for) successful teaching and professional engagement.
• Candidates who teach in a law school legal clinic, who have prior experience supervising or teaching law students, or who have prior experience supervising attorneys performing immigration work are strongly preferred.

To apply, please complete the application form here:  Inquiries may be made to Professor Laila L. Hlass, Appointments Committee Chair by email:




September 18, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 16, 2019

Jennifer Lee Koh: Reflections on Elitism After the Closing of a Clinic: Justice, Pedagogy and Scholarship

Read this important, insightful essay from Prof. Jennifer Lee Koh. She reflects critically on the ecosystems of legal education and the importance of legal clinics in all kinds of law schools. For access to justice, a better profession, and more vibrant public life, we need law schools serving communities and states that are not "elite," that exist on every plane of our unfortunate hierarchies. 

I began my teaching career at Faulkner Law, a regional, newly accredited, relatively small law school, in a state with great needs and fewer resources. Faulkner had a real, valuable commitment to clinical legal education, because the clinics were important to students who needed to be practice- and client-ready for their communities and because clinics advanced its faith-driven mission to serve its communities. In many regional, "unranked" law schools, clinics are more important than ever in preparing great lawyers to serve their neighbors and clients. 

Prof. Koh's essay and her experience at Western State is important. We all should reckon with the gravitational effects of elitism and its pursuit. 

Here's the essay at SSRN and its abstract: 

In this Essay, I reflect upon my experience directing the Immigration Clinic at Western State College of Law for nearly a decade, including my decision to close the Clinic after financial crisis put the law school’s ability to continue operating in serious jeopardy in the Spring of 2019. The Essay focuses on the themes of pedagogy and the viability of non-elite law schools, teaching and doing social justice in the clinical context, and the integration of theory, doctrine and practice in legal scholarship. By memorializing a portion of the Clinic’s work, the Essay seeks to give voice to stories that might otherwise go unheard during a time of institutional crisis. In doing so, I hope to disrupt the easy narratives that may otherwise dominate our understanding of Western State’s record and offer a perspective on the value of clinical legal education and clinic scholarship at non-elite law schools.

September 16, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 9, 2019

JOBS: Saint Louis University Clinics

SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW is a Catholic, Jesuit institution dedicated to student learning, research, community engagement, social justice, and service.  Located in the city of St. Louis, the School of Law has a nationally recognized and award-winning clinical program through which students represent both individual and group clients in litigation, administrative, advocacy, and transactional matters.  The School of Law is looking for someone to join the clinical program in a full-time clinical law faculty position.  More information about the clinical program is available here:


The successful candidate will direct all aspects of an in-house law clinic (including the classroom component, student supervision, and client selection) and may teach one or more additional courses.  Candidates should have appropriate expertise and relevant practice experience in the area of law they propose to be the focus of the clinic.  In their application materials, candidates should include a one-page description of the clinic they propose to teach as well as an explanation of how the proposed clinic will meet the needs of both the School of Law and the larger community.        


We welcome entry-level and lateral candidates. Candidates should have distinguished academic and practice records, as well as an understanding of clinical teaching methods.  A J.D. is required.  Qualifications also include admission to the Missouri Bar, eligibility for reciprocity, or a willingness to sit for the first Missouri bar examination after being hired.  The successful candidate should have at least three years of recent law practice experience.  Ideally, candidates will also have experience and training in clinical teaching methods, either through prior experience as a clinical faculty member or through supervision of law students in other settings.


Please apply online at


Inquiries should be addressed to:

                                                Brendan D. Roediger

                                                Chair, Clinical Faculty Appointments Committee

                                                Saint Louis University School of Law

                                                100 North Tucker Boulevard

                                                St. Louis, MO 63101



Saint Louis University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  All qualified candidates will receive consideration for the position applied for without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military/veteran status, gender identity, or other non-merit factors.  We welcome and encourage applications from minorities, women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities (including disabled veterans).  If accommodations are needed for completing the application and/or with the interviewing process, please contact Human Resources at 314-977-5847.


September 9, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

CLEA: Social Justice in Legal Clinics: Baltimore's Family Law Clinic

Cross-posted from CLEA's series on Social Justice in Legal Clinics. 

By Shanta Trivedi, Clinical Teaching Fellow, Bronfein Family Law Clinic

In May 2019, University of Baltimore Bronfein Family Law Clinic (“UB FLC”) and the ACLU of Arizona jointly filed an amicus brief in the Arizona Supreme Court in support of Juan P., a Mexican father fighting to get his son out of foster care in the United States and back to his family in Mexico where he belongs.

The UB FLC represents indigent clients in custody, visitation, divorce, and other family law proceedings and engages in litigation regarding important family law issues. It also partners with community organizations to tackle larger systemic issues through advocacy, education, and legislative work. The fundamental, constitutionally protected liberty interest in the care, custody, and control of one’s children is a core principle of the UB FLC’s work and the community it serves. Juan P’s case was particularly compelling because it presented significant and timely issues of child custody and child welfare law that have broad implications for many children and parents, particularly during the ongoing family separation crisis at the Southern border.

Juan P’s son, S.P., was born in the United States. When S.P. was only a year old, Juan P. was deported and S.P. returned to Mexico with his father to live with his father and siblings. The following year, S.P. came to the United States to visit his mother in California. Juan P. had daily contact with S.P. for several weeks until S.P.’s mother abruptly ceased contact. Despite repeated attempts to contact the mother and find out his son’s whereabouts, Juan P. was unable to locate them. Unbeknownst to Juan P., S.P.’s mother had moved to Arizona and had been embroiled in child welfare proceedings where she had been found an unfit parent. S.P. was placed in the custody of the Arizona Department of Child Safety (“DCS”) and ultimately with a foster family.

Juan P. only learned that his son was in foster care the next year and immediately contacted DCS to seek his son’s return to Mexico. Shockingly, instead of returning the child as required by law, DCS filed a motion to terminate Juan P’s parental rights. That motion was ultimately dismissed without a hearing, but the Arizona Court of Appeals twice denied reunification based on concerns that S.P. had bonded with his foster family and reunification with his biological family might cause him harm.

Juan P. through his attorneys at the Maricopa County Office of the Public Advocate (“OPA”) filed a petition for review in the Arizona Supreme Court. UB FLC students Nathan Adams, Nell Fultz & Henry Lloyd, under the supervision of Clinical Teaching Fellow, Shanta Trivedi and Clinic Writing Instructor and Assistant Professor, Cheri Levin, researched and drafted a supporting amicus brief in conjunction with the ACLU of Arizona.

The brief argued that, under the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause, Juan P. had a fundamental liberty interest in the care, custody, and control of his son. The brief asserted that the state had no compelling interest in interfering with the parent-child relationship unless the parent was deemed unfit. In this case, the lower court had explicitly found Juan P. to be fit on more than one occasion. Thus, the state was unconstitutionally infringing on Juan P.’s fundamental right to parent his son.

The brief also argued that, overall, the child welfare system disproportionately affects children of color and that this case was just one example of a larger systemic problem. Prejudice against minorities pervades the child welfare system, impacting which children are removed and which families are reunified. While this bias is often implicit, in this case it was overt and unapologetic. DCS had placed S.P. with a foster family who did not speak Spanish and repeatedly violated court orders requiring the child to receive Spanish lessons so that he could better communicate with his father and siblings in Mexico. Worse, DCS had made disparaging remarks about Mexico on the record in arguing why S.P. should remain with his foster family. The brief asked the court not to sanction such open and hostile discrimination.

While the petition was ultimately denied, the students gained legal research and drafting experience and had a wonderful experience collaborating with a community partner. Most importantly, they learned a larger lesson: family separation isn’t just happening at the border. Legal systems within this country separate families every day. And Juan P., like the thousands of other parents separated from their children is continuing his fight.

September 4, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 2, 2019

CLEA Board and Officer Nominations Due Oct. 1

The CLEA Elections Committee (Melanie DeRousse, Benjie Louis, Shobha Mahadev and Lynnise Pantin) is soliciting nominations through October 1, 2019, of individuals to serve on the CLEA Board starting in January 2020. This year, there are several Board positions open.  All positions require a three-year commitment.  I am attaching a memo prepared by the CLEA Elections Committee, which sets forth the activities and responsibilities of CLEA Board members in more detail.  Current CLEA members are invited to nominate themselves or other CLEA members as candidates for one of these open positions.  The committee also encourages "new clinicians" (defined as clinicians with fewer than 6 years of experience) to run for the CLEA Board.  Our Bylaws create a separate election process for candidates identified as "new clinicians," to ensure that the identified "new clinician" candidate who receives the greatest number of votes will be assured a place on the Board.


The Committee strongly encourages CLEA members to nominate individuals from groups that are currently underrepresented within the leadership of various clinical institutions, including CLEA, the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education, and the Clinical Law Review.  The nomination process is simple.  Nominate yourself or someone else by contacting the chair of the CLEA Elections Committee, Lynnise Pantin, If you are nominating yourself, please include a paragraph or two about why you are running and a link to your faculty profile, which will be included with the election materials to be sent later in the fall.  If you are nominating another CLEA member, there is no need to include such a paragraph; the name alone will suffice, and the Elections Committee will contact the nominee for further information.  If you have less than six years of clinical teaching experience and wish to be identified as a "new clinician" candidate, or if you want to nominate a candidate for the "new clinician" category, please indicate that as well.


Although the process of nomination is easy, our Bylaws set a strict deadline for receiving nominations.  All nominations must be received by October 1, 2019.  If you have questions about the CLEA Elections process, please feel free to contact Lynnise Pantin at


September 2, 2019 | Permalink | Comments (0)