Friday, December 28, 2012

Stanford starts "religious liberty" law clinic

From The National Law Journal:

A Florida prisoner who converted to Judaism as an adult who can't obtain a circumcision while incarcerated.

A Muslim group in California facing opposition to their plans to construct a mosque.

A Seventh Day Adventist whose employer will not adjust his work schedule to allow him to observe a Saturday sabbath.

Those are some of the clients who will be represented by a new religious liberty law clinic at Stanford Law School, which administrators say is the first of its kind at a U.S. law school.

The clinic was established with $1.6 million in seed funding from the Washington-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which supports the free expression of religious beliefs regardless of the faith. Unlike many public interest law groups that support religious freedom, Stanford's clinic will take on clients from any religion, said director James Sonne.

"The point of a clinic is to teach professional skills to law students using real cases and live clients," said Sonne. "We think the religious liberty aspect offers a unique way to do this work, and it's something the students get excited about. As our culture becomes more diverse, it's a great way for students to represent clients whose beliefs are different from their own."

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